This site is intended for health professionals only

Integration may not save NHS money, says Manchester health and social care authority chief


30 November 2016

Share this story:
Twitter
LinkedIn

There is no evidence to suggest integration will save the NHS money in the long term, the head of Manchester’s devolved health authority has said.

Jon Rouse, chief officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, told MPs at a Communities and Local Government hearing that “the jury is out” on whether integration will save money.

He said this was largely because very few places have attempted to integrate health and social care services over a long period of time and to the same extent as Greater Manchester.

There is no evidence to suggest integration will save the NHS money in the long term, the head of Manchester’s devolved health authority has said.

Jon Rouse, chief officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, told MPs at a Communities and Local Government hearing that “the jury is out” on whether integration will save money.

He said this was largely because very few places have attempted to integrate health and social care services over a long period of time and to the same extent as Greater Manchester.

Rouse added that successful integration means shifting care from the secondary care into the community.

However, he said this would be challenging because it means having to “switch off real savings in the acute sector and that’s incredibly hard to do because that’s people and beds”.

He told the committee: “I think the jury is out actually in terms of whether it will save the level of money that we hope it does and I think the jury is out for a really good reason, which is very few places have done systemic place based integration over a long enough period of time to know whether that is true or not, which is why the Greater Manchester experiment is an important test.”

Rouse added the lack of funding for social care is building “artificial barriers” to integration in sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), as the NHS is reluctant to take on the financial risk of engaging with local councils.

But Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Local Government Association, told the committee the regional plans for the future of the NHS would be more likely to succeed if councils were involved.

He added that STPs have set out plans for integration to mixed effect, saying they have not been successful “where plans have been introduced in secret”.

He said: “Where they’ve not worked are where communities have not been engaged. Where they’ve not worked are where politicians are not at the table and, in some areas, as a consequence of those failures, plans will meet opposition as they’ve been made public.

“In areas where councils have been inside, communities have been involved, plans have been evolved in a way that’s right for local circumstance, it will make a big difference in solving the dilemmas we face in social care, health and wellbeing more generally.”

Two councils in Shropshire have rejected their local STP because of “a lack of confidence in the financial projection and the reliability of the rational for future cost reductions”.

Twitter
LinkedIn

Related news