London signs major health devolution deal for five ambitious pilots
London’s CCGs and councils have today signed a historic health devolution deal with the government that will see five pilots launched across the capital focusing on integration, accountable care organisations and asset collaboration.
Today’s major agreement is the first step in a package that includes a longer-term aim for further devolution deals down the line.
As part of this first step, the capital will commit to running five pilots tackling different topics, including:
- Haringey running a prevention pilot that will use flexibilities in existing planning and licensing powers to develop new approaches to public health problems
- Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge developing an accountable care organisation that more closely integrated primary and secondary care, with patient pathways redesigned to focus on early intervention and chronic illness management
- North Central London (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington) running an estates pilot to test new approaches to collaboration on asset use
- Lewisham seeking to integrate physical and mental health services alongside social care
- Hackney running a health and social care integration pilot that hopes to fully integrate both budgets and joint provision services, with a particular emphasis on prevention
In line with the aspirations of the NHS Five Year Forward, the five pilots will radically reshape how healthcare is provided across the country’s largest and most complex health economy.
Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, said: “In London’s NHS, we’ve got some of the best health services anywhere on the planet, but also some of the most pressurised. London is the world’s most dynamic and diverse city – why shouldn’t it be the healthiest?
“Today, the NHS and London local government commit to testing better prevention for our children’s health, to new ways of joining up care for older people, and to shared action to free up unused buildings and land to reinvest in the modern primary care that our fast growing city clearly needs.”
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt and chancellor George Osborne signed the agreement with ‘London Partners’, including all of the capital’s CCGs, local authorities, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and national bodies such as NHS England, Health Education England, NHS Improvement and Public Health England.
Hunt said: “There is a huge amount of good practice and innovation in London health and care services – this exciting new deal will help improve services even further for Londoners.
“The pilot areas we have announced today will be trailblazers as we move towards a fully integrated health and care service by 2020. By empowering more places in the capital to make the best decisions for themselves, we will improve patient experience and help keep people well for longer.”
As part of the deal, the London Partners also agreed to explore the health service’s vast estate in the capital, as well as increase incentives for trusts to make better use of their property.
They will also be given input on government decisions about relief funding for London’s struggling healthcare providers.
Biomedical research boost
Although no overall budget has been dictated in the package, Osborne and Hunt announced a new £800m boost to biomedical research through the National Institute for Health Research during their visit to the Great Ormond Street Hospital today.
The hospital’s biomedical research centre is currently the only one of its kind specialising in paediatrics, but the new funding will be allocated across the full spectrum of health research – including dementia, genomics, cardiovascular, asthma, cancer, nutrition and obesity.
The cash will be provided over five years from April 2017 after the competition is concluded.
Mayor Jules Pipe, chair of London Councils, noted that today’s agreement will also mark the beginning of a real partnership between all public services concerned with the health of Londoners.
“It marks the culmination of much hard work between the boroughs, local clinicians in the CCGs, the NHS, Public Health England and the GLA,” he added.
“Through greater integration of our services, we intend to deliver better outcomes for Londoners to support them in living healthier, independent lives. This agreement provides a strong joint framework for us to deliver that agenda together.”
Despite the country’s recent devolution momentum, London’s agreement is one of the two to focus on healthcare especially, second only to Greater Manchester’s £6bn package finalised earlier this year.
(Top image c. Ray Wewerka)