Manchester becomes first region to run health and social care in £6bn devolution deal

Local authority leaders in Greater Manchester hailed a 'new era' as it becomes the first region in England to take full control of health and social care in a £6bn devolution deal that begins on 1 April.

The transfer of control over health and social care funding to local leaders in the city comes just over a year after chancellor George Osborne unveiled the move in the run-up to the 2015 general election.

NHS England, 12 CCGs, 15 NHS providers and 10 local authorities signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year to agree plans that will see 'joint decision-making on integrated care to support physical, mental and social wellbeing'.

Launching the devolved health and social care plans, local leaders said the move 'presents health officials with a unique opportunity to tackle some of the poor health inequalities' affecting the region's 2.8m population.

Health and social care integration

A five-year plan published in December 2015 - underpinned by £450m in extra 'transformation funding' - set out four key priorities to take advantage of increased local control over health and social care.

  • Creating a transformed health and social care system to help more people stay independent and well and deliver better care for those who are ill.

  • Aligning health and social care system far more closely with education, skills, work and housing.

  • Creating a financially balanced and financially sustainable health and social care system – we spend our £6bn effectively and spend no more than that.

  • Making sure all the changes needed to do this are done safely so the NHS and social care continues to support the people of Greater Manchester during the next five years.

Lord Peter Smith, Chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Strategic Partnership Board, said: 'I have seen first-hand the progress that has been made since the historic signing of the memorandum of understanding in February 2015, which took place between all the major public sector bodies of the region and Whitehall.

NHS reform

'Establishing the new system has been the crux of our focus for the past 12 months and we have made unprecedented and unrivalled progress in this regard. Quite frankly, the progress we have made has been revolutionary for the region and we are in a great place ahead of a new era for health and social care services.'

Ann Barnes, chief executive of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust said: 'Our priority in Greater Manchester has always been to improve services and outcomes for patients. That’s never changed. But devolution will allow us to do things differently and faster.

'For the first time, since the NHS was created in 1948, we will be able to join up health and social care services across our region. It should mean that more people leave hospital sooner and others avoid having to go to hospital all together.

'Devolution ties Greater Manchester together for greater change. We know there are challenges ahead, but we’re ready and we’re excited.'

Photo: iStock

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