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23.10.15

North east to look into health service integration following devolution stamp

The north east region of England is set to take greater control of its healthcare services through a new devolution package, signed today (23 October) by chancellor George Osborne.

As part of several devolved powers, the North East Combined Authority will now establish, in partnership with the NHS, a Commission for Health and Social Care Integration.

The commission will look at the potential for integrating health services, including acute and primary care, community services, mental health services, social care and public health.

The move will strive to strengthen services while improving local outcomes and health inequalities.

And on behalf of all NHS CCGs in the region, the North East and Cumbria CCG Forum welcomed the opportunity to improve patient care through tighter integration, deeper collaboration and devolved powers across the combined authority area.

Dr David Hambleton, chair of the Forum, said: “Linking with the broader plans for devolution of powers to the North East Combined Authority area, we are keen to explore how the NHS can play its part in shaping our future locally.”

Although no specific price has been set for the integration initiative, the entire devolution deal will be matched with a £1.5bn fund from central government. This will come in the form of £30m per year over 30 years.

It is still unclear whether the deal will follow a similar path as Greater Manchester’s healthcare devolution package, which brought down £6m in NHS spending to local leaders in the region.

(Top image c. Jon Dowland)

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