The East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) is a committee of elected Councillors and voluntary sector representatives that scrutinises (carries out an independent check on) healthcare services in East Sussex.
HOSC is managed by East Sussex County Council and works in partnership with Eastbourne Borough Council, Hastings Borough Council, Lewes District Council, Rother District Council, and Wealden District Council.
HOSC looks at health issues and suggests ways that health services might be improved in East Sussex. The Committee does this by scrutinising the work of NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), NHS Trusts, the voluntary sector, and independent providers of healthcare, and acting as a ‘critical friend’ towards them.
Health is a complex area for scrutiny. Scrutinising everything undertaken by local NHS organisations and their partners and the wide range of issues affecting people’s health is not realistic, so HOSC will usually prioritise:-
· major changes to health services – by law, HOSC must be consulted by the local NHS on any plans that would result in major changes to health services that residents of East Sussex rely on, known as ‘substantial variations’. HOSC can scrutinise these plans, produce a report and make recommendations. If local agreement on the best way forward cannot be reached, HOSC can ultimately refer these plans to the Secretary of State for Health for review.
· select reviews of health issues – HOSC may conduct a review of an important health issue and make recommendations to the NHS that can directly influence or improve service delivery or people’s health;
· local health services in need of improvement– HOSC may invite CCGs, NHS Trusts, or independent and voluntary providers to explain what they are doing to improve the health services that they are responsible for.
HOSC’s future work is set out in its work programme, which is updated after every meeting.
Law requires that the Council’s representative is a member of the Council’s Scrutiny Committee.
Harvey Winder, Democratic Services Officer, Member Services, East Sussex County Council