As reported by The Economist, Greater Manchester will soon become the first region in the UK to receive full control of its health spending, as part of an extension of devolved powers.
In a somewhat experimental move, a newly established body of stakeholders will take control of Manchester’s £6 billion health and social care budget.
Under the new system leaders of the ten boroughs, along with the heads of the City’s hospitals and primary-care organisations, will co-ordinate planning and funding through a “strategic partnership board”.
The move responds to an increasing need to shift the balance of care from hospitals to community providers, and for services to work closer together to help prevent people from dying early and to better manage those with long-term conditions.
Greater Manchester will not be fully autonomous, with NHS England reserving the right to intervene if it under performs. As reported today by the HSJ, a number of performance triggers have been drafted which would validate NHS England intervention, these include:
- A&E waiting times: a minimum of 85% of patients to be seen in under 4 hours.
- Referral to treatment: if the proportion of elective patients waiting longer than 18 weeks falls below 85% (national target is 92%).
- Breast cancer symptoms: if the proportion of patients waiting longer than two weeks to see a specialist falls below 85% (national target is 93%); and,
- Diagnostic tests: if more than 1% of patients wait longer than six weeks for tests over a three month period.
Successful or unsuccessful, the new model of healthcare introduced in Greater Manchester will have significant implications for the future of healthcare in UK.