Manchester’s getting a health budget – could this mean the rise of people power in rhe NHS?

Manchester gets control of NHS BudgetCoat of arms or logo

Way forward for ‘new’ NHS using Patient Power?

Manchester Evening News spills the beans

Grab the OpportunityGeorge osborne hi.jpg

George Osborne was due to announce ‘devolution’ of £6 Billion of funding for Manchester’s Health and Social Care budget, to be handled by the City – not faceless suits in Whitehall.

But he missed out on his moment of glory – pipped by the Manchester Evening News (MEN).

So if Mancunians have ideas to improve their health care, now’s the time to get in there with suggestions. A newly appointed Mayor,  MPs gasping for seats and Councillors eager to show residents they want what’s best for them, means ii’s your time to come out with what YOU want for the NHS. Whilst they are prepared to listen to anyone who might vote for them.

There is bound to be lots of re-organisation (however much Osborne promises to the contrary), so before the fat cats get feet under the brand new desks, get in there with YOUR ideas.  Make sure the devolved system reflects is best for locals.

Election ploy

Denials have come thick and fast, but no Government, in the run-up to an election, is going to announce such a life-changing and controversial decision, unless they consider it will please voters.

Predictably, there has been an avalanche of complaints – BUT – now is the time for Mancunians to take advantage of a powerful position and ‘use’ the election.  Ask, lobby, suggest what you want, and keep on and on until May 7th. And even after, because the political scene looks set to be a mess post-election.  Generals and Admirals have won battles taking advantage of confusion!

Fears and worries

Experts working in the NHS are naturally concerned.  One senior member commented ” it’s very complex …. I’ve read and heard lots of things about it – both good and bad”.

One criticism is that it stops the NHS being a national service potentially – so we have an even worse ‘post code lottery’ than exists at the moment. And anyone worried about what’s happening to elderly care; social and health care will be joined, and because social care is in even a worse way than the NHS financially (and it’s means tested) that NHS money will go to subsidise social care, leaving the NHS shorter of cash.

Some think the main message is that it’s very mixed news and probably mostly bad (obviously rushed out as an election ploy in a hurry). And of course – even more bureaucracy! Especially with six out of nine hospital trusts in Greater Manchester set to end 2014/15 with deficits totaling more than £40m, this also looks like a cynical ploy to shift the financial burden away from central government and onto local government.

So Osborne pushing through a radical NHS re-organisation without any mandate and apparently without any evidence that this has been thoroughly thought through and assessed. looks set for chaos.

But it’s going to happen – the time for suggestions and rational pro-and-con thought is past.  What’s needed now is user-friendly ideas to give Manchester health and social care that is fit for purpose, and what locals want – not what Whitehall thinks they need.

Or, as the incomparable Roy Lilley puts it, ” I detect a shift …… and leaders of Manchester have grasped …….. 16 years of regulation has improved diddly squat and the way to fabulous healthcare is finding good staff … not repeatedly bashing people with the bad.”

Way forward

If anyone has ideas – good ones that won’t cost an arm and a leg – write them down in the Comments below – or send me an email to

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