Letter to the editor
News that Greater Manchester is to be handed control of its £6bn NHS budget is exciting and sets a precedent for England’s health and social care system (‘Devolution: Now Greater Manchester gets control of its entire £6bn NHS budget’, 25 February 2015).
Thanks to this announcement, there are major opportunities for integrated care to deliver much wider changes than we have seen before and to re-shape the provision of health and social care for 2.8m people. However, we now must wait to see whether a new ‘Super Health and Wellbeing Board’ will work with the existing structures such as Clinical Care Commissioning Groups and Health and Wellbeing Boards or if this will drive increased integration and possible mergers between Clinical Care Commissioning Groups across Greater Manchester.
One thing is certain, the role of the Mayor, and their relationship with the existing decision making bodies will be key in making this work. The new Mayor will need a remit and mandate to drive change that will be more significant for local democracy in England than the creation of the London Mayoralty. If successful, it will be the most transformational change in local government and health services in a generation.
Mark Horncastle is a healthcare expert at PA Consulting Group