DevoManc boss backs calls for social care priority in Autumn Statement
The boss of the flagship health and social care devolution programme in Greater Manchester (GM) has backed calls for the government to prioritise social care if any extra cash is made available in this year’s Autumn Statement.
In an exclusive interview with PSE at the GM Health and Social Care Partnership headquarters, Jon Rouse, the organisation’s new chief officer, said they very much support the position of the LGA, the Health Select Committee and NHS England CEO Simon Stevens that social care needs extra resources immediately.
Discussing the integration journey in GM, which officially kicked off in April but has been unfurling for 18 months now, Rouse said in terms of relationships between NHS and council providers “it’s all going really well” – partly because of transformation fund resources “that add engine oil to the machine”.
“It means not only can we come up with a plan, but we have a mechanism for actually financing that plan, double running services and so on,” he said.
But Rouse added: “I would be lying if I said there weren’t some tensions. Those tensions tend to come around the day-to-day operation of the urgent and emergency care system, and particularly issues around delayed discharges.
“I think we all understand in GM that that’s a product of local government finances and the extent of the pressure they’re under, and we’ll continue to make a case for government for the need of additional social care resources.
“If there was any chance for any additional resources [in the Autumn Statement] our first priority would be for social care, no question. We’re very close to our urgent care systems here in Greater Manchester: I chair the urgent and emergency care taskforce, I look at the data every week, if not every day, and I know why the four-hour wait limit is being breached.
“The primary reason is a lack of access to beds, and the primary reason for that are delayed discharges. I’m convinced that is the key causation factor.”
But despite the ongoing and nation-wide pressures on the social care sector, Rouse said GM’s trailblazing journey to integrate health and care has been attracting international attention.
“We have a really nice dialogue going on with New York State about the development of our local care organisation, because they already have 50 accountable care organisations (ACOs) and they’re very open to dong some mutual learning. What we can learn from them is all the work that goes into actually creating ACOs, the right incentive mechanisms and how you move from an activity-based model to an outcomes-based model,” he explained.
“And what they’re really interested in with us is the integration of social care, because they don’t have that in the States at all. So I’m always looking for those mutual support opportunities.”
To mark the six-month milestone since devolution was formally instated in April this year, Rouse revealed his organisation will be publishing an update report – hopefully by the end of November – that describes how the region is doing on the pillars of performance, quality, finance and transformation, as well as “tells the story of how far we’ve got”.
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