Tag Archives: DevoManc

The announcement in February 2015 that local councils in Greater Manchester would be given a say in the management of the NHS in the conurbation generated a lot of publicity. This is an attempt to make sense of what has happened since. The announced devolution of powers in relation to the NHS doesn’t amount to very much. All the laws, regulations and structures which apply in the rest of England still apply in Manchester. That is not the case in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. This is more like delegation than devolution. A Memorandum of Understanding was agreed by NHS […]
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Thank you for giving me the opportunity to seek the Socialist Health Association nomination to be the Labour candidate for elected Mayor of Greater Manchester.  My life changed at the age of 14 when I started doing voluntary work with people with learning disabilities for a locally based voluntary organisation, Outreach. Then at the age of 19 I set up a charity, Contact, supporting people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. From a very young age I was angered by the way people were too often labelled and written off despite having massive potential and their families forced to […]
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Welcome to my fourth NHS Check Oldham Report, part of a series of reports that examine how national policies from the Government are affecting local health and care services in Oldham East and Saddleworth. These reports are informed by national and local statistics as well as data from other sources, such as patient experiences and think tank reports. This report is focussed on the devolution from central Government of £6bn of health and social care funding to the combined Greater Manchester Authority – commonly referred to as ‘Devo Manc’ – and the challenges and opportunities the changes may have on […]
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What could stop them? Ed Cox of IPPR cautioned in 2014 ‘we should be wary about getting too excited until the rhetoric become a reality’. The Taking Charge and Locality Plans could be viewed as a solid step forward in the devolution agenda, and the Voluntary & Community Sector-positive language is undoubtedly promising, however, at this stage it is still language. Alex Whinnom stated that ‘although all the right words are there…there is no guarantee that ‘alignment’ and ‘partnership’ will necessary translate into a share of the available resources’. The Manchester Evening News recently questioned whether the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ was starting to look like an empty slogan, and, although both devolution and the Powerhouse are […]
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Recorded on 18th March 2016 at the Health and Social Care Summit

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The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, slowly making its way through Parliament, feels like a background presence in conversations about the future of the NHS. With just five months left to fill huge provider deficits, by any means necessary, and with the near certainty of junior doctors going on strike, worries about constitutional tinkering seem almost frivolous. The healthcare devolution plans emerging from Manchester don’t immediately seem to take us into the unknown. In one light, the new NHS-led regional structure, with its emphasis on settling disputes and coordinating plans, looks not so very different to a good old regional […]
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We thought we had a political narrative on the shape of the NHS. David Cameron famously slams “pointless reorganisations” in 2011 but foolishly allows Andrew Lansley to run amok with his Health and Social Care Act in 2012. Jeremy Hunt is then brought in to steady the ship – Lansley having been deemed politically toxic – and we all settle down to making the 2012 structures work as best we can. Yet now we have a new kid on the block – George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer – shaking up the NHS in revolutionary ways and with no scrutiny […]
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In the real world the health agenda is dominated by the huge strains within the care system due to chronic underfunding.  Social care is close to collapse and the health system is running at a significant deficit – with unknown consequences.  On further destabilising factor is the lack of any strategic bodies and the huge gaps in management capacity and capability.  The main task for the party for now could be to hold the government to account for the increasing failings in the system. Much of what the NHS is trying to do is similar to what we supported as […]
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Integration. Prevention. Personalisation. The buzzwords that indicate the reforms our health and care system needs are as widely recognised as they are overused. So too are the problematic features of current service provision: fragmentation, barriers and silos. The challenge is not one of rhetoric, but of moving beyond words to practically forge a system that works for people – and enables us all to live healthier, happier lives. The context is a challenging one  – on this there is also widespread consensus. People are living longer, and many more with long-term, complex conditions. The medical advances and increased life expectancies we […]
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During the recent general election, the NHS featured as one of the most important political issues in the public mind. Indeed, Ipsos MORI found that it polled significantly higher than even the army or the monarchy as the institution which made people most proud to be British.1 Clearly, it’s the ‘National’ in the ‘National Health Service’ that resonates: not only is the NHS a safety net, but it’s free at the point of use for all, and is available regardless of means or any other discriminatory variable. And yet this national service has always been shaped by the judgement of […]
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Health inequalities are one of the most pernicious and tenacious challenges that any government, and wider society, has to address. And judged by the coalition government’s own commitment “to increase the health of the poorest, fastest”, there are good reasons to be critical of its track record on health inequalities. Various institutional tweaks and changes have led to a plethora of disconnected strategies in the approach to health inequalities. New central bodies such as NHS England and Public Health England have been created, while the Department of Health has seemingly lost its strong oversight function and the public health subcommittee […]
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I spent a lot of time physically in Manchester, for one reason or another. As a ‘Northern power house’, it happens to be only two hours away from London Euston on the train. When news of the ‘People’s Republic of Manchester’ was breaking last year, I remember the criticism that came with it from the NHS policy stream. That is, locally devolved powers might undermine the national nature of the health service. At worst, the devolved Manchester was also devolving blame for cuts to a local level. It’s possibly no coincidence that Phillip Blond has been involved with both the […]
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