East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC)

1. About HOSC

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.

What does HOSC do?

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 to services’. 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.

HOSC has a number of legal powers to hold the NHS to account; these are set out in its terms of reference.

What will HOSC not do?

HOSC cannot monitor or investigate individual cases. If you have a complaint about the healthcare that you received, you need to first raise it with the relevant NHS organisation. You may also wish to contact Healthwatch East Sussex.

2. HOSC Members

HOSC has 12 elected members with voting rights. East Sussex County Council appoints seven of the elected members and the five district and borough councils each appoint a member. There are also two non-voting members from the voluntary sector, appointed by the VCSE Alliance.

East Sussex County Councillors

District and Borough Councils

Voluntary Sector Representatives

  • Geraldine Des Moulins (VCSE Alliance)
  • Jennifer Twist (VCSE Alliance)

If you have any queries about HOSC, please email healthscrutiny@eastsussex.gov.uk or call 01273 481796.

3. Meetings

HOSC meets four times a year in public at County Hall, Lewes. You are free to attend to observe a meeting in person, or you can watch a webcast of the meeting. Webcasts are available for six months.

The dates of all upcoming HOSC meetings are published on the East Sussex County Council website.

The meeting papers are published five clear working days before each meeting. You can subscribe to an email alert if you wish to be informed as soon as they are available.

4. Work programme

The items for discussion at future HOSC meetings are set out in HOSC’s work programme. This is agreed by the Committee’s Members at the end of each meeting.

The work programme also includes other work that HOSC Members are doing outside of the formal meetings, these include:

  • Regular joint meetings with other HOSCs to scrutinise NHS trusts that provide health services across a wide area
  • evidence gathering meetings for reviews of important health issues
  • visits to NHS, voluntary or independent health services to better understand how they work.

HOSC Newsletter

You can keep up-to-date on HOSC’s work by subscribing to the HOSC Newsletter. Simply subscribe from the list of newsletters found in the Keep Me Posted button on the East Sussex County Council’s homepage.

5. Get involved

You can keep in touch with what HOSC is doing in the following ways:

Watch HOSC meetings online either live or as an archive (for up to one year)

Sign up to the HOSC e-newsletter by clicking the “keep me posted” button at the top of the page. Our email privacy notice.

Sign up to email alerts when agendas are published.

Contact us if you have any further questions about HOSC, you can contact healthscrutiny@eastsussex.gov.uk or call 01273 481796.