A Greater Manchester-style devolution deal has been struck in Surrey Heartlands.
The agreement will bring together the NHS locally with Surrey CC to integrate health and social care services, and give local leaders and clinicians more control over services and funding.
NHS England’s announcement came as its head, Simon Stevens, yesterday pledged to end the ‘fractured’ health and social care system that leaves too many patients ‘passed from pillar to post’.
Mr Stevens said: ‘As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday, we are now embarked on the biggest national move to integrating care of any major western country.’
NHS England medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh, added: ‘We need to heal fractures between services and tear down those administrative, financial, philosophical and practical barriers to the kinds of services our patients want us to deliver.’
Eight accountable care systems (ACSs) that will bring together local NHS organisations, often in partnership with social care services and the voluntary sector, have also been announced.
- Frimley Health, including Slough, Surrey Heath and Aldershot
- South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw, covering Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield
- Blackpool & Fylde Coast, with the potential to spread to other parts of Lancashire and South Cumbria at a later stage
- Luton, with Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire
- Berkshire West, covering Reading, Newbury and Wokingham
In addition, it is expected that West, North and East Cumbria and Northumberland could join the group of ACSs later this year.