Discussions in Greater Manchester around a new partnership for health and social care are underway

The 10 local authorities, 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups, 14 NHS providers, NHS England and the government can confirm they are in discussions on a groundbreaking agreement for health and social care.

It is hoped that a full agreement will be reached shortly around partnership working in Greater Manchester on health and social care, recognising the link between physical, mental and social wellbeing.

NHS care will remain free for patients, national standards of care will continue to apply to all NHS services, and the local NHS will continue to meet or exceed service improvements set for the NHS in the annual Mandate agreed between the Government and NHS England.  Any agreement would not require any NHS administrative reorganisation and makes use of existing legislative freedoms.

The move – which could see Greater Manchester make more of its own decisions around the health and social care needs of its residents – follows the historic devolution settlement with Government on November 3, 2014.  Greater power for the cities in the north is central to the government’s vision of a Northern Powerhouse.

Following the original devolution deal, NHS England invited the GMCA, Greater Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and the area’s NHS providers to develop a plan for joining up – or integrating – health and social care across Greater Manchester.  These plans also fit within a place-based approach to health and care reform in the context of the national Five Year Forward View set out by NHS England.

Dr Hamish Stedman, chair of Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a genuine opportunity to enhance health outcomes for the people of Greater Manchester by aligning health and social care and public sector reform. Treating a person as a whole – rather than by separate conditions – is designed to bring long-term benefits and independence.”

Lord Peter Smith, chair of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said: “We are committed to working in partnership with our NHS colleagues throughout the city region to take this forward and I would like to thank those colleagues, and NHS England, for their hard work so far in enabling us to reach this point. By ensuring that decisions about health for Greater Manchester are taken in Greater Manchester, we can ensure we have a system specifically tailored to the needs of people in our area.”

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “NHS England is working on this groundbreaking offer to the local NHS in Greater Manchester, working in partnership with elected local authorities.

“The NHS Five-Year Forward View says we want to back local leaders and communities who come together to improve health care of their residents and patients.  While this new model won’t necessarily be right for many other parts of England, for Greater Manchester the time is right and conditions are right for shared success.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “We’re discussing a plan for bringing together the NHS and social care in Manchester so we provide better care for patients. This is exactly what we want to see more of in our health care.  It’s also about giving Greater Manchester more control over things run in Greater Manchester – which is what our vision of a Northern Powerhouse is all about.  It’s early days, but I think it’s really exciting development.  We’ll be working hard now with Greater Manchester and NHS England on getting the details right so the arrangements work best for patients.”

Councillor Cliff Morris, GMCA lead on health, said: “Our ambition is clear: To move from being one of the places with the worst health outcomes in the country to becoming one of the best and we believe this could be a huge step towards that goal. By fully integrating health and social care we can focus on preventing illness and promoting well-being across all age groups.”