Ground-breaking plans to give the people of Greater Manchester power over the city’s health services will be one of the biggest ever changes to NHS funding in England.
As part of the devolution of Greater Manchester, Chancellor George Osborne plans for Mancunian councils and health groups to take responsibility for a £6 billion health and safety budget by April 2016.
A newly-elected mayor and board of local leaders would be placed in control of devolved powers and a budget, with hopes of integrating health and care services to ease pressures on hospitals and improve social care services across the region.
Involved in the plans are 10 local authorities, 12 clinical commissioning groups, 14 NHS partners, NHS England and the Government.
Sir Robert Peel, UK Prime Minister in 1834 and 1841, said, “What Manchester thinks today, the world will think tomorrow.” And some suggest that these plans could provide the template for national plans.
The Labour Party, however, have warned the plans could result in a ‘two tier’ health service, with Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, commenting, "I am a bit worried what I'm hearing because it does point to further break-up of the idea of the National Health Service. If you're going to stick to the idea of a national health service you can't have a Swiss cheese NHS where some bits of the system are operating to different rules or have different powers and freedoms.”
Chancellor George Osborne said, “This is what the NHS wants to see as part of its own future. And it’s also about giving people in Manchester greater control over their own affairs in that city, which is central to our vision of the ‘northern powerhouse’ – so it’s a very exciting development.”
The protection of Human Rights are at the core of any improvements to national health services, when considering the long-term care of vulnerable people.
Slater and Gordon Senior Lawyer Richard Copson said, “For some time the three main political parties, conscious of failings and a lack of integration in the health and social care systems, have been considering ways to improve services nationally for vulnerable people and an ageing population.
“Whilst any steps to improve care services for vulnerable people are to be welcomed, we should be cautious that costs and budgets, rather than needs and access to services (cornerstones of the welfare state after all) do not dominate the way in which care services are made available.”
Richard Copson is a Senior Court of Protection Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK specialising in Mental Capacity Law, Community Care, Human Rights and Public Law.
To speak with a Human Rights Solicitor about a Human Rights issue in England or Wales call Slater and Gordon Lawyers for a free consultation on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.
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