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Devolved Manchester to invest £28.5m health grant in new research centre

Greater Manchester hospitals and universities have received a £28.5m medical research grant following the devolution of healthcare to the region.

Supported by the £28.5m grant from the National Institute for Health Research, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS FT and the University of Manchester will form the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.

The aim of the research is to deliver new early stage tests and treatments for cancer, musculoskeletal disease, hearing loss, respiratory disease and cutaneous inflammation and repair.

Jon Rouse, chief officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “The new partnership approach under devolution means that we have both the opportunity – and the means – to combine the talents of people from a whole range of areas to benefit our population.

“This hugely welcome funding is recognition that in Greater Manchester we can combine the best clinical skills with the best research, innovation and academic talent to take huge steps in improving the health and wellbeing of our people.”

The Christie, Salford Royal and University Hospital of South Manchester NHS foundation trusts will be delivery partners for the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, which will also be supported by Manchester Academic Health Science Centre.

Sir Mike Deegan, chief executive of Central Manchester University Hospitals, said the news marked a “landmark moment” for the region, with the £28.5m set to be “directly invested into finding new ways of preventing, predicting and treating some of the major causes of premature death and disability”.

“Bringing together our research expertise has only been made possible by the unique connectivity which devolution provides,” he added.

Professor Ian Bruce, director of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, added: “Working closely with patients, we will use the latest advances in biology, medicine and health technology to better predict disease and likely treatment response.

“The new diagnostic tests and therapies we develop will enable doctors to offer a more tailored approach and to better personalise treatments to the individual. We are also working on better ways to prevent disease developing in the first place.”

Manchester City Council also recently announced plans to merge University Hospital of South Manchester, Central Manchester University Hospitals and services provided at North Manchester General Hospital under the operation of Pennine Acute NHS Hospitals Trust to form a single trust.

However, University Hospital of South Manchester has since been rated ‘requires improvement’ by the CQC, whilst Pennine Acute was rated ‘inadequate.’

And a recent IPPR report criticised the health devolution process in Greater Manchester, saying it has created more bureaucracy instead of offering true devolution.

In total, the NIHR announced grants to 20 NHS trusts, in partnership with local universities, with a total value of £816m.

The money will fund five-year research projects into areas including cardiovascular disease, mental illness, dementia and antimicrobrial resistance.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said: “We are supporting the great minds of the NHS to push the frontiers of medical science so that patients in this country continue to benefit from the very latest treatments and the highest standards of care.”

Professor Chris Whitty, the chief scientific advisor to the Department of Health, said: “The future of NHS care depends on the science we do now. This new funding will enable clinical researchers to keep pushing for medical breakthroughs. The NIHR biomedical research centres announced today offer huge potential benefits for patients across the country.”

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