Public Health England announced the signing of a major agreement yesterday, marking the next step in devolved health and social care for Greater Manchester.
The agreement promises to create a united, single leadership for public health across the ten Greater Manchester areas: Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.
The public health agenda of each of the areas will now be driven by plans laid out by their own health and wellbeing boards.
It follows he groundbreaking Greater Manchester Health and Care devolution deal in February 2015, in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Health approved the signing over control of the combined health and social care budget of £6bn to regional authorities.
As part of the move, which is the first of its kind in the country, Greater Manchester’s Public Health leads unveiled their visions of working together to make the area healthier, happier and more prosperous.
Health authorities vow to work from the ground up, placing emphasis on prevention and early intervention to stop people becoming ill – to ensure they can remain independent and have the best family, work and lifestyle opportunities available to them.
The hope is to place the public at the heart of the wider economic potential of the area will while simultaneously reducing the demand on the NHS.
Steve Pleasant, Lead Local Authority Chief Executive for Public Health in Greater Manchester, said: “This is a unique opportunity for public health to bridge the gap between the NHS and the economy.
“We know that if we can help people to stay well there will ultimately be less demand on health services.
“This then keeps the health service sustainable while keeping people in work and gaining skills for the region.”
Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, said: “Good health and economic development and prosperity are inseparable. Wellbeing happens when local people benefit from that prosperity.
“We see devolution as the natural next step in dealing better with the consequences of poor health and to work with local people to improve the things that have the most significant impact on their lives: having a decent job and home, safe communities and education.
“This agreement puts prevention and the local citizen at the centre of everything that devolution should deliver.”
Stronger Together, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Greater Manchester Strategy, aims to make the city region financially self-sustaining by 2020 through a twin-track approach of growth and reform.
This involves promoting the conditions for economic growth while reforming public services to help people, especially those with complex needs, to become more independent.
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Greater Manchester has an enormous amount to be proud of, and soon tackling long-standing and deep health inequalities will be one of these.
“Co-ordinated and intense action now – by local authorities, the NHS and communities across the region – can help to give every child a decent start in life and tackle the root causes of illness.
“Today’s agreement is an important catalyst for exactly that.”
Authorities will develop a joint submission for the Government’s Spending Review in the autumn, explaining the links between health, employment and early intervention work.
Through the submission, all eyes will be on Greater Manchester to evidence the programmes’ successes and demonstrate why the approach benefits from being done on a local level in each of its districts.
Councillor Cliff Morris Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s lead for health, said: “This move is even more momentous because it is giving power to Greater Manchester people to shape their own futures which is a key part of the Greater Manchester Strategy.
“We are now able to have local control over local needs while working with our national colleagues in public health and NHS England.
“This is a first in the country and all eyes will be on Manchester as we start this powerful alliance.”