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Manchester health and care services improving but still ‘a lot to do’

In its latest targeted health and care report, the CQC has found that services in the city of Manchester have made some progress but there are still “significant problems” that need to be resolved.

The investigation discovered that people’s experiences of receiving services differed across the city, with some areas providing a better service than others.

Additionally, there were high numbers of emergency admissions to hospitals across the city, and once people were admitted they were more likely to remain there for longer than they should.

The review is part of 20 targeted reports commissioned by the secretaries for health and communities meant to help the healthcare sector understand the way people move through the system.

In 2015, 37 NHS organisations and local authorities were part of a deal with central government to launch the Greater Manchester devolution agreement, which began the process of health devolution in the region.

“Our review of Manchester’s services and how they work together has found encouraging progress has been made in the establishment of joint commissioning, creating conditions for change,” explained Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of primary care services at the CQC.

“There is a lot to do. Overall, we could see there were areas of good practice in parts of the system.

“Where services were already integrated, staff reported that relationships between professionals such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists were good, with improved communication and information sharing.

“We found there were workforce pressures in a number of areas, and social workers were carrying high and complex caseloads. This meant that there was a waiting list for assessments and a risk that people who were not having their needs assessed could end up as emergency cases.”

However, the key organisations involved in Manchester’s health and care system have jointly created a new strategy to deal with the issue, and the CQC said that this was clearly understood at all levels of the system.

The review found that in the north of Manchester there were good arrangements to support people in the community and prevent hospital admissions, but on occasions where patients were admitted their discharge was likely to be delayed.

In contrast, in the centre of the city there were fewer joined-up services to prevent admissions, but once people needed to leave hospital they were less likely to be delayed.

There were a number of recommendations put forward following the report, with the CQC saying that there needed to be a greater focus on operational delivery improvement along with a more robust commissioning and quality contract monitoring system.

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