Charities issue warning to health devolution plans

Let the “in-fighting” begin

Charity leaders are warning the Government’s moves to give Greater Manchester power over health and social care spending could be flawed because voluntary organisations appear to have been forgotten in plans.

Under the policy, which has been championed by the Chancellor, George Osborne, 10 councils will come together under an elected mayor to take over the region’s £6bn health and social care budget.


Ministers hope the scheme will be a trailblazer for the transfer of power from Whitehall to English regions. But the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo) protested that the detailed planning in Manchester barely recognised the role of charities in delivering social care for children, the elderly and vulnerable adults.

It includes providing “meals on wheels” and befriending services for older people, help for homeless teenagers and transport for all ages.

Acevo accused the Government of a “grave oversight” after a memorandum of understanding setting out plans said that the “role of the third and private sector in the arrangements… remains to be determined”.

Its chief executive, Sir Stephen Bubb told The Independent newspaper: “I welcome devolution with open arms as a magnificent opportunity to reform and restore services, but it appears the rhetoric doesn’t match the reality.”

He said that the voluntary sector, which would be crucial for delivering services, should be treated as an “aside in a flagship devolution document” and said it was essential to get the Manchester scheme right.

A Government spokesman insisted the agreement would closely involve the third sector. “strengthening communities and supporting individuals through working together with the third sector will be central to the approach the Government take,” he said.

“Unfortunately there will be many “ruffled feathers” to groom and parties to unite before major improvements reach the end-user”

Cornwall gets new NHS Devolution deal

NHS reforms see Cornwall emulate Manchester with a £2bn deal.

Charlie Cooper writes in The Independent – Cornwall is set to win its own “NHS devolution” deal, which could see the county take control of a £2bn combined health, care and welfare budget by the end of the decade, according to reports.

The deal would see Cornwall follow Greater Manchester as the second English region to bring its NHS and council-funded care services together under one budget, controlled by council and local health authorities.

NHS devolutionAlthough details of the plan are still to be finalised, the Health Service Journal (HSJ) and the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) reported that the Chancellor George Osborne will announce a new deal for Cornwall in next week’s budget.

Integrating health and social care is central to the Governments future plans for the NHS.

With a growing elderly population who are dependent upon the NHS and their local council for long-term care, the historic separation between the two sectors is seen to be holding back effective, joined-up care between the home and hospital.

Scotland has already legislated for councils and local NHS boards to pool their health and care budgets. In England, a deal announced in February to hand a £6bn health and care budget over to local councils and NHS bodies in Greater Manchester, was seen as firing the starting gun for wider reforms. Some smaller local areas already have forms of integration  in place.

The milestone moment in NHS history will see Manchester take full control over health and social care budgets, with a combined value of £6bn, taken on by 10 local councils and 12 NHS clinical commissioning groups in the Greater Manchester area. The changes, part of a wider strategy known as DevoManc, start to come into effect next year.

According to HSJ and LGC, citing senior sources, the Cornish deal will see health and social care services jointly commissioned by the GP-led Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group and  Cornwall Council.

The HSJ rreported that NHS England does not at present intend to delegate budgets for certain specialist health services, which it controls centrally, to Cornwall.

A Treasury spokesperson said the Government could make no comment in advance of Wednesday’s Budget announcement.

“One can only hope a successful blueprint evolves from these ‘new deals’. Will any self-interest and resistance to change, of the parties involved, be overridden for real change and the greater good.”