Ministers sign £6bn Manchester health and social care devolution deal

Senior government figures have signed a £6bn deal to devolve control of the 'entire health and social care system in Greater Manchester' to local leaders.

Chancellor George Osborne: landmark deal (Photo: Julian Dodd)
Chancellor George Osborne: landmark deal (Photo: Julian Dodd)

Council leaders stressed that the deal, which will create a single £6bn budget for health and social care across Greater Manchester, was not a ‘town hall takeover’ of healthcare.

Instead it was a partnership deal between health and social care organisations to allow joint decisions in the interests of local people, they said.

NHS England, 12 CCGs, 15 NHS providers and 10 local authorities have agreed a memorandum of understanding that will see ‘joint decision-making on integrated care to support physical, mental and social wellbeing’.

Ministers approved deal

The deal has been countersigned and approved by chancellor George Osborne and health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

NHS England believes the deal will put into practice part of the vision behind its Five Year Forward View plan for the health service.

Announcing the plan, Manchester City Council said it would ease pressure on hospitals by focusing on services in the community and preventive care to keep people ‘well and as independent as possible’. The deal is a step towards ‘the area’s ambition of full devolution of public spending’.

Full devolution of health and social care spending will take effect from April 2016, with a transitional roadmap set to be put in place by 1 April this year, although Manchester will begin to have more control over decision-making now.

Landmark NHS agreement

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘Today's landmark agreement between NHS England, the local NHS and local government leaders charts a path to the greatest integration and devolution of care funding since the creation of the NHS in 1948.

‘While continuing to deliver on national care standards and the patient rights set out in the NHS constitution, Greater Manchester now has a unique opportunity for innovation and improvement in health and wellbeing.’

Dr Hamish Stedman, chairman of Salford CCG, said: ‘GPs want better health outcomes for all patients and this agreement is the start of a road map to a healthier Greater Manchester.’

Chancellor George Osborne said he had always hoped to include greater local control over health spending when a deal was signed last year with local councils over devolution of powers.

‘Things have happened even more swiftly than we had all hoped at the time, and now we have a landmark agreement to bring the local NHS and social care much more closely together. I am excited about all this because not only does it mean the people of Greater Manchester having more control over the decisions that affect their lives; I believe it will also lead to better, much more joined up healthcare.’

Lord Peter Smith, chairman of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said: ‘This is another defining moment in Greater Manchester’s devolution journey. The scope and nature of this unprecedented agreement means we are proudly breaking new ground once more.

‘I want to make absolutely clear that this is not, as it has been wrongly portrayed in some quarters, a town hall takeover of Greater Manchester’s NHS budget. We will be working together with our NHS colleagues in the region to make joint decisions which reflect local priorities. Ultimately this will be via a new strategic health and social care partnership board.’

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