Landmark devolution deal sees Greater Manchester take control of £6bn healthcare budget

The region’s 10 councils and health groups will take over £6bn allocated for health and social care, with full powers being devolved in April 2016.

Chancellor George Osborne signed the memorandum of understanding, dubbed ‘Devo Manc’. The agreement is part of a plan to close the economic gap between north and south by investing in regions, and would see local leaders, along with Greater Manchester’s new directly elected mayor, control how budgets are allocated.

Deputy leader of Greater Manchester Combined Authority Sir Richard Leese said: “The first big change is to make sure that a lot of people aren’t entering into needing healthcare that don’t need to do so. People are spending too long in hospital so there will proper care packages available when they return home.”

Ann Barnes, chief executive of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is not about increasing power, but about increasing the health and prosperity of local people.

“We will have greater opportunities to respond swiftly and effectively to the needs of residents and really transform services for them. They will have a powerful voice in a powerful partnership.”

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens described the memorandum of understanding as a landmark agreement: “It charts a path to the greatest integration and devolution of care funding since the creation of the NHS in 1948,” he said.

Responding to the announcement, Cllr Gary Porter, Vice-Chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “Devolving control of social care and health spending to Greater Manchester is good news for the people who live there and now needs to be replicated for people across the rest of the country.

“We have long argued that truly integrating social care and health and taking decisions closer to where people live is crucial to improving services and keeping older people living in their homes for longer.”

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