Health bids to fund merging of services

Funding bids to transform Wigan's healthcare system have been submitted with a boss appointed to a new combined leadership group.
Rebecca MurphyRebecca Murphy
Rebecca Murphy

Greater Manchester’s 10 local authority areas have been invited to apply for a share of £60m as part of the region’s devolution deal.

Borough bosses are hoping for their £14m bid to be accepted in order to fund a Wigan based integrated care organisation (ICO).

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The new body will combine health and social care services across Wigan and Leigh. Town hall officials will find out if the bid has been successful later this year.

And council bosses have appointed Rebecca Murphy to lead its ICO plans.

She said: “I am delighted to be joining the ICO Partnership at what is a critical time in the devolution of health and social care. I’m looking forward to helping turn the ICO vision into a reality and in turn improving the health of the borough’s residents.

“I firmly believe that through joint working and the integrating of social care, GP services and wider health services we can create a more sustainable and efficient service for residents.”

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Greater Manchester took full control of its £6bn health budget earlier this year.

Wigan’s bids, created by the borough’s commissioning group and town hall officials, state the local ICO will be established by 2018.

Colin Scales, chief executive of Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “These are very exciting developments for Wiganers and our many staff working across health and social care.

“The pooling of our knowledge, skills and expertise to improve health and wellbeing will provide our communities with truly joined up services to meet their health and care needs.”

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The merging of health and social care provisions is part of Wigan Council’s locality plan which maps out health and wellbeing targets from the coming years.

Coun Keith Cunliffe, chair of the borough’s health and wellbeing board and cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “Bringing health staff and social care staff together makes a lot of sense. Closer working will not only improve the efficiency of the service, by reducing duplication across organisational roles, but will also lead to a better service for residents as staff are able to communicate more easily about the care of individuals.”

Other areas to already have an ICO overseeing the service merger include Tameside.