Readers’ letters - March 30

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets three-month-old Emily Kidd. See letter below about EU and Scottish independence
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets three-month-old Emily Kidd. See letter below about EU and Scottish independence

April 1 – a date for the diary

From April 1, health and social care in Greater Manchester changes for the better.

As part of this, we write to you as organisations involved in Greater Manchester Health and Care Devolution.

We wanted to take this unusual move, because Greater Manchester is on the brink of an extraordinary new era as it starts to take full control of the entire budget and decisions for health and social care from April 1.

Together, we are poised to take charge of a huge opportunity – where we will have the freedom to move away from previous ways of working, so that we can make the improvements needed to the health and wellbeing of the 2.8m people who live here.

It’s also a time to make the connection between better health and wellbeing and how that helps with all other areas of life including work opportunities, better family life and the prosperity of the region. The potential is great – so is the challenge ahead. People in some parts of Greater Manchester are out of work longer, die younger and suffer far more illness than other parts of the area and the rest of the country. This cannot and must not continue.

We also face a £2bn shortfall in funding for health and social care in Greater Manchester by 2021 if we don’t start to change outcomes and how we work. But that change isn’t just about services – it’s a wider call for action starting in our homes, schools, workplace and communities so that there is more emphasis on keeping well, staying independent and looking after each other.

The people of Greater Manchester are known for their innovation, loyalty and pride in where they live. We are appealing to all those qualities as we ask everyone to work together in considering how we can change health outcomes. Some of the proposed new ways of working together across Greater Manchester are contained within a draft five-year plan for the area. We’d invite everyone to read this at and give feedback on what you think could be done to improve health and wellbeing.

By 2021 we want to see major improvements including fewer people dying from cancer or heart disease, more children getting off to a better start in life and more people able to work. April 1 is a date in diaries and possibly even the history books.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, Greater Manchester Healthwatches,

Greater Manchester Interim Mayor, Association of GM Local Medical Committees, Community Pharmacy Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Police, Wigan Council, Wigan Borough CCG, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


Confusion over EU vote

I understand the desire for Scottish independence is at a 15-year high. Is this then the time for a new start for us ? Should we bite the bullet, vote to leave the EU, stick a few more bricks on Hadrian’s Wall and see how the world looks?

I have listened to arguments on both stay and leave camps, and am no wiser. On the other hand, I doubt if Mrs Sturgeon will ever be satisfied outside of independence.

As I say, I know little of politics, but if we don’t have to pay the huge levy to Europe, and the Scots start to pay the prescription charges, et cetera, that at the moment I believe we subsidise, will we be worse off? No doubt some Smart Alec will soon show me the error of my ways. I wish they would, but after chatting to local people, listening to “informed” people, I reckon none of us really know. I remain, confused!

Allan Fazackerley via email