Devolution Q&A

Greater Manchester is now in charge of its own health and social care spending – and with it, the transformation of our services. The Partnership leaders help us to answer some big questions on how devolution will make a difference to everyone who lives and works here.

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What is devolution in Greater Manchester?

Devolution means public services are run locally rather than nationally. That’s good news for Greater Manchester. It means we can make our own decisions about how we take care of the 2.8 million people living in our ten boroughs – because local people know what our region needs.

How is devolution improving people’s life chances?

The devolution of our health and social care means we can join up services to work better, and build those services around the individual and the community. It’s giving us the chance to tackle some of the biggest issues affecting our health, in the best way for our ten boroughs.

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Talking about this is Steven Pleasant MBE, Chief Executive of Tameside Council and Accountable Officer of Tameside & Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Greater Manchester’s health is poorer than the national average. How is devolution tackling this?

The key to improving our health across our ten boroughs is, in many ways, improving the way we live.

Things like unemployment, education and our lifestyles contribute to the bigger picture of our mental and physical health.

So getting people into good employment and kids into school at the right age are all part of the wider devolution plan, as is encouraging healthier lifestyles.

Talking about this issue is Lord Peter Smith, Chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Care Board

How is devolution bringing together our public services?

In each area of Greater Manchester, the NHS, social services, community groups and the council have come together to form a single organisation providing joined-up health and social care services.

They’ll operate with a shared budget, a shared set of standards and a shared mission: to provide care centred on the individual’s needs. This should result in providing the best all-round care and support for people across our ten boroughs.

Firstly, it means that everyone can work together better and more efficiently on improving services.

Secondly, our hospitals will be at the heart of these local organisations, providing wider, more joined-up care on people’s doorsteps. This will involve hospitals being more connected to their communities and the different kinds of care and support needed in those communities.

Talking about this is Steven Pleasant MBE, Chief Executive of Tameside Council and Accountable Officer of Tameside & Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Why we have combined health and social care services?

Joining up our health and social care services is such an important part of devolution. It will make these services much more efficient, resulting in better care for everyone in Greater Manchester.

It will mean that someone who’s unwell or has a disability will be able to talk to one individual and one organisation to get the care they need. This will make a big difference for vulnerable people in particular.

Jon Rouse, the Partnership’s Chief Officer, talks about the integration of our health and social care services.

How is devolution changing the way that health and social care services work together?

To provide the best-joined up care for the people of Greater Manchester, we need our health and social care organisations to work together more closely.

So we’re making it easier for staff from different services to build relationships, agree plans together and ultimately represent a wider range of options to suit each person’s needs.

For example, healthcare workers will be liaising with public service workers, while social care teams will talk to nurses. That way, everyone involved in providing care for a person will have the full picture and understand how and where improvements need to be made.

Tracey Vell, GP and Associate Lead for Primary and Community Care at the Partnership, talks about these changes.

How are GP services improving across the region?

We’re working on many different positive changes to our primary care services.

We’re guiding people through a complex system of care in a simpler way, and we’re better coordinating care in each community. For example, by integrating social-care teams with community nursing and general practice, that care will be provided by the same familiar people, who will know their patients individually.

Standardising care
We’re also standardising care across the whole of Greater Manchester. So the care you receive in Stockport, for instance, would be of the same level as that offered to someone in Oldham or Salford.

Better GP services
One of the most immediately beneficial changes is access to GPs. We’re making it easier for people to get a GP appointment, with thousands more slots being made available across Greater Manchester, including at evenings and weekends.

We’re doing this by better coordinating GP practices and other services to provide more flexible care when and where it’s needed. For instance, our seven-day access scheme allows patients to choose from five health centres via their own practice.

With real-time access to shared medical records, doctors now have all their patients’ information at their fingertips. Improved data will allow for more efficient care and safer prescriptions. We’re also reducing differences in the standard of care between different areas.

Other improvements include phone consultations, which are freeing up more face-to-face appointments, and an online service for booking appointments and ordering prescriptions.

Hear Tracey Vell, GP and Associate Lead for Primary and Community Care at the Partnership, talk about these improvements.

How is the relationship between patients and GPs changing?

One of our devolution goals is to restore the traditional relationship between the GP and the patient.

At the moment, GPs in Greater Manchester attend to a high volume of short appointments day to day. This means they’re less available for the people who need them the most.

By introducing additional support around GP practices – from health and care professionals such as pharmacists, district nurses, and social services – GPs will have more time to plan vital care as and when it’s needed.

So, as well as having better access to their GPs when they need them, people will benefit from a wider network of health and social care services in their community.

Jon Rouse, the Partnership’s Chief Officer, talks about these changes.

What does devolution mean for people who work in our health and social care organisations?

Our workforce plays a vital role in the transformation of our health and social care services.

Thanks to devolution, our services are now being led by people who know and live in Greater Manchester. People who naturally care deeply about what happens here.

All teams in our health organisations and councils are working together, and working with local people, to improve our services.

  • We’re working with Health Education England (HEE) to equip our workforce with new skills, so they can further help their communities
  • Our general practice nursing awards celebrate nurses who’re making a difference to health in Greater Manchester as well as strengthening the vital role they play
Lord Peter Smith, Chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Care Board and Leader of Wigan Council, shares his thoughts on the topic.

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