London boroughs to road test new health and care models

15 Dec 15

NHS devolution pilots for London will see boroughs in the capital test new approaches to physical and mental health collaboration, including full health and social care integration in Hackney.

Chancellor George Osborne and health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the schemes at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Under the arrangements, Hackney will run a health and social care integration pilot, aiming for full integration of budgets and joint provision of services.

In other initiatives, Lewisham will run a pilot seeking to integrate physical and mental health services alongside social care, while a North Central London consortium of five councils (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington) will run an estates pilot to improve coordination of asset use. Haringey will develop plans to use existing planning and licensing powers in public health strategies.

In the east of London, Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge will work to develop an accountable care organisation to better coordinate primary and secondary care, with a focus on intervening early and managing chronic illness.

Osborne said the proposals represented a step on the government’s devolution plans for healthcare, which has already seen devolution agreements reached for Greater Manchester and Cornwall.

“This deal means that not only will the people of London have more control over decisions that affect their lives, it will also lead to better, more joined up health care in the capital for Londoners,” he said.

As part of the trials, a partnership agreement has been signed by Osborne and Hunt with all of London’s clinical commissioning groups, local authorities, the Greater London Authority and national bodies including NHS England and Public Health England.

This is intended to set a framework for further devolution, with ministers today setting a longer-term aim for devolution of London’s healthcare to local authorities.

Hunt stated this would help spread good practice that already exists in the capital.

“The pilot areas we have announced today will be trailblazers as we move towards a fully integrated health and care service by 2020,” he added. “By empowering more places in the capital to make the best decisions for themselves we will improve patient experience, and help keep people well for longer.”

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said London’s NHS offered some of the best health services anywhere on the planet, but also some of the most pressurised.

“Today the NHS and London local government commit to testing better prevention for our children’s health, to new ways of joining up care for older people, and to shared action to free up unused buildings and land to reinvest in the modern primary care that our fast growing city clearly needs,” he said.

London Councils chair Jules Pipe, who is also directly elected mayor of Hackney, said the agreement promised the beginning of a real partnership between all public services concerned with the health of Londoners.

“Through greater integration of our services we intend to deliver better outcomes for Londoners to support them in living healthier, independent lives. This agreement provides a strong joint framework for us to deliver that agenda together.”

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