Manchester to control £5bn in health spending as cities make grab for power


A pioneering devolution deal has given local authorities in Manchester control of a health budget worth over £5bn a year. The Government hopes the regional plan will break down barriers between hospitals and care in the community, with joint responsibility for spending given to Greater Manchester's 10 councils and local NHS managers. It is also hoped that the power shift will save money and improve results, as Greater Manchester currently spends £1bn a year on social care and is struggling to cope with demand. ResPublica, the think-tank that proposed the idea last year, said the move should help the long-term unemployed back to work by tackling chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes more effectively. However, there are some critics of the system. The Nuffield Trust warned that the arrangement raised issues of accountability, whilst research by the King's Fund think-tank into Northern Ireland, where health and social care has been merged since the 1970s, found 'little systematic evidence' that it improved health or saved money.


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