Planning for healthy communities: Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
Reforms to our health and social care services are rarely out of the news, but one common theme is the importance of a local approach to healthcare provision, which takes into account the needs of the whole community. The framework for planning the future healthcare provision for our communities is known as the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), and a new step by step briefing on this process has just been launched.
We have been working with the NHS Confederation and Local Government Improvement and Development to develop this briefing, so that all the parties involved in the new health and wellbeing boards will have a common understanding of how to identify their community’s needs.
The JSNA pulls together all the relevant information about a community, including population data, levels of smoking, housing quality, and importantly, the views of its residents. This picture is then used to plan future provision, to ensure that the community has the health and social care services which it needs.
Professor Richard Parish, Chief Executive of RSPH, comments “The importance of effective planning for local communities cannot be overstated, and it is vital that a strong partnership is developed between the health and social care professionals, and the representatives of hard to reach groups. The JSNA process provides a vital tool which will allow everyone to contribute effectively to the development of healthy communities.”
PCTs have been using the JSNA process since 2007, but in future, health and wellbeing boards will have responsibility for providing the health and social care services for their communities. These groups will include members of the health professions, locally elected representatives and the Local Authority Directors of Children’s Services and Social Care. And the Directors of Public Health will play a vital role in providing technical advice.
It is particularly important that the voluntary sector and local community groups take an active part in the JSNA process, because they often have the best understanding of what their community needs, and can provide specialist services to support particular groups of people. By making contact with their local health and wellbeing board, and taking an active part in the JSNA, the third sector can ensure that the needs of every part of the community are considered.
According to John Wilderspin, the National Director, Health and Wellbeing Board Implementation, "JSNAs should not be seen as dry documents to sit on your shelf gathering dust - they should provide a comprehensive "picture of place" for all decision makers to use to prioritise action, and evaluate what they have achieved. Combined with the new joint health and wellbeing strategy they are the foundation stone for effective planning and commissioning undertaken within health and wellbeing boards."
RSPH will also be offering a range of tailored seminars for health professionals and third sector organisations to support them as they develop their JSNAs. For further information contact Nicolette Boustaoui at firstname.lastname@example.org.