In a move that could have important ramifications for health and social care services across the UK, the New Year will see the creation of the first merged health and social care organisation. From January 1st, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust and Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust join together to become a single organisation. Integration of health and social care to provide more seamless round the clock seven-day service is seen as vital and is being pursued in various guises across the country.
The new trust, to be called Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, will provide care for people living in Bolton, Salford, Trafford and the City of Manchester, with specialist services covering Greater Manchester and beyond. Manchester has been leading innovation in the way care is delivered. In April, the city took control of its £6 billion health and social care system, meaning local councils, hospitals, GPs and other health trusts would in the future decide for themselves what services would be provided locally, and how – rather than it being decreed from Whitehall.
The merger has been approved by NHS Improvement, whose executive regional managing director, North, Lyn Simpson, said: “I am pleased to see that the months of work to join the two trusts is now coming to fruition. Service users will see the benefits of the new trust’s joint expertise early in 2017 as it begins to make planned improvement.
“My thanks go to the Boards and the staff at both trusts for their professionalism in bringing together the two sets of services. I also thank our partners in the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership for their invaluable support.”
The new trust says patients, carers, families, staff and partners will all see benefits from the integration of the two organisations, including:
- A new section 136 suite – a designated place of safety for people experiencing a mental health crisis in the City of Manchester
- Revised service models designed aimed at providing 24/7 community and home-based care for all ages, as well as a reduction in the need for patients to receive treatment out of area.
- Funding for frontline voluntary organisations and third sector partners to develop innovative practice in order to increase service quality
- A commitment to pay all staff across the new trust the ‘Living Wage’
- Environmental and property improvement schemes across the trust designed to improve patient experience
- Enhanced research and development into mental health, including developing innovative treatment solutions for patients
Bev Humphrey, who will be Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust is joining forces with our neighbours and colleagues from Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust.
“From 1 January 2017, both organisations will become one, bringing together complementary skills and services to develop further the scope and quality of mental health care to our communities. Both organisations have significant strengths and by coming together, there is so much we can all achieve in the years to come, that will improve the health, wellbeing and life chances of the people we serve.
Lord Peter Smith, Chair of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We have made a clear commitment as part of devolution to develop a new approach to mental health services. “We will do this by placing the individual and families at the heart of the system and integrating mental health with other health and community services. The improvements being made as the new arrangements come into being are an essential step in our transformation programme.
“The consequences of poor mental health are a growing problem for Greater Manchester and it is imperative we tackle the root causes to ensure a brighter and more prosperous future for the region and, importantly, the individuals and families affected.”
Additional Reporting By MUN Reporter