Joint Strategic Needs Assessments

Currently many health and social care partnerships are reviewing their Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA).  This is a process for statutory health care and social care providers to identify what the needs are in their area.  The JSNA is then used to guide the decisions about how resources are deployed over the following year.  JSNAs will be regularly updated and are meant to be a living document.  However, if services are commissioned based on the JSNA, it is unlikely that the contracts will be renegotiated every year.  So, any issues relating to the specific needs of black and minority ethnic communities that aren’t included in the JSNA can’t easily be supported.  BME voluntary and community groups need to find out what is happening in their area and make sure that they take part in any consultations that are going.  If there are problems about being able to participate, they also need to be raised with decision makers.
What information should be in the JSNA?  The following information about what should be in a JSNA is taken from work done by Age UK:

  • demographic, including migration and ethnicity information
  • social and geographic, including education, housing and vulnerability
  • lifestyle factors, including levels of smoking and diet
  • epidemiological information, including life expectancy, long term conditions and disease prevalence.
  • service access and uptake, including emergency admissions, vulnerable groups receiving care and transport
  • evidence of effectiveness, including ideas on good practice, literature reviews
  • community perspectives, including views, perceptions and experiences of local people.

The last point is particularly important to black and minority ethnic communities who are known to have poorer health outcomes, have lower service uptake and take longer to get to services when they’re not well. 
What’s happening in your area?  Have you taken part in a JSNA review?  What was your experience?