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A ‘new era’ for Greater Manchester’s health and wellbeing

31/03/2016

A ‘new era’ for Greater Manchester’s health and wellbeing

A ‘new era for Greater Manchester’ begins on 1 April 2016, as the region becomes the first in the country to take control of its combined health and social care budgets – a sum of more than £6 billion

It means that – for the first time – leaders and clinicians will be able to tailor budgets and priorities to directly meet the needs of local communities and improve the health and wellbeing of the 2.8million residents.

It presents health officials with a unique opportunity to tackle some of the poor health inequalities that currently blight the region and the past year has seen politicians, councillors and senior health officials work in partnership to establish a system of governance that will allow Greater Manchester to prosper.

A top priority will be to tackle some of the worst health outcomes in the country.

For example, more than two thirds of early deaths in GM are caused by behaviours which could be changed, while nearly 25% of the GM population have a mental health or wellbeing issue which can affect everything from health to employment, parenting and housing. This has to change.

We know from the Taking Charge Together campaign that there is an appetite for change, with over 90% of Greater Manchester residents keen to improve their health and wellbeing.

Our ambitious five-year plans support this changing attitude and will establish a new relationship between public services, citizens, communities and businesses to bring a change in approach to health and wellbeing, both at home and in the workplace. 

Greater Manchester is to receive £450million in additional transformation funding to support developments to the system, outlined in December when we revealed a five-year vision for services across Greater Manchester, underpinned by four key long-term goals:

·         Creating a transformed health and social care system which helps many more people stay independent and well and takes better care of those who are ill.

·         Aligning our health and social care system far more closely with the wider work around education, skills, work and housing – we spend our £22billion effectively.

·         Creating a financially balanced and financially sustainable health and social care system – we spend our £6billion 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.

These priorities are underway and will be shaped in the coming weeks and months as health officials respond to what local people want; using their experience and expertise to help change the way we spend the money.

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.

“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.”

Improved services and sustainable finances will be delivered through greater collaboration across public-sector services – in all areas of health, social care, education and employment.

Greater Manchester will remain as part of the NHS, with nationally agreed targets, but leaders here will have increased freedoms and flexibilities to tailor our budget and priorities to our own region’s needs. It will allow health officials to respond to what local people want; using their experience and expertise to help change the way we spend the money.

Sir Howard Bernstein, said: “The progress has been made possible by the unprecedented partnership working shown by the 37 organisations involved. That unity has been inspirational as we prepare for full devolution – and new ways of working that see more integration between health and social care and improving outcomes for patients across Greater Manchester.”

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."