Devo Manc and the NHS

By happy coincidence we organised a dinner last night for leaders in the NHS in Greater Manchester to discuss Devo Manc and the NHS.

Those present welcomed the announcement that control of the NHS budget is to be handed to Greater Manchester authorities and  look forward to working much more closely with these elected local authorities.  Under the right conditions this could be an opportunity to ensure that our Manchester Health Service – MHS  – brings much greater benefits to patients and communities.

MHS patients must be equal partners in decisions about their own care and of their families.  The MHS should be much more democratically accountable than the NHS has been in the past.  Manchester still has huge inequalities in health. The average age at death of people living in the most deprived parts of the conurbation is ten years less than among those living in the most prosperous areas.  The NHS has never been able to tackle inequality on its own but the MHS will be the biggest employer in the region and with local councils must use its muscle to reduce inequality.  At the same time we want to see an end to wasteful and damaging competition between hospitals.

MHS should bring much closer working between social services, citizens, patients, carers, families, communities, hospitals, family doctors, pharmacists and other clinicians, researchers and the voluntary sector and to establish real parity of esteem between mental and physical health.