Health and social care devolution: the Greater Manchester experiment

Author Christina Heap
Posted 2016.03.26

Although we know that the aims of devolution are to improve health and reduce health inequalities, it is less clear how this will be achieved. Kieran Walshe (HSRUK Board member) and colleagues from Manchester University examine how it might work and the likely problems. 

In February 2015, the government announced plans to devolve control of health and social care spending in Greater Manchester to a new strategic partnership board, bringing together 10 local authorities, 12 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), 15 NHS trusts and foundation trusts, and NHS England. The deal, which involves over £6bn (€8bn; $9bn) a year, was done at speed mainly between the Treasury, NHS England, and key local government and NHS leaders, without much public debate or consultation. 

By April new governance arrangements will be in place. Legislation has been passed that gives the government wide ranging powers to transfer health and social care responsibilities, statutory duties, and resources from existing public bodies to other public bodies or authorities. In December 2015, a meeting of the newly established Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Strategic Partnership Board approved a single strategic plan for health and social care setting out ambitious plans for reform, and a detailed agreement on new governance arrangements.

To read the full article visit the BMJ’s website