Manchester’s long-term goals to transform its health and social care system, along with its strong commitment to partnership working have been recognised in a recently carried out review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Manchester was one of 20 sample areas chosen by the CQC for a Local System Review (LSR). The reviews were asked for by the Secretaries of State for Health and for Communities and Local Government back in July, to understand how people moved through the health and care system, with a focus on the connection between services. In particular, it had a focus on services to people aged 65 and over.
Manchester’s review took place in October and looked at the whole health and care system. It did not include mental health services or specialist commissioning, but it did look at cases of people living with dementia.
The findings of the review have been welcomed by the city’s health and care chiefs – especially as they are very similar to internal, self-assessments of the system. In particular the report noted the strong partnership working, the benefits of devolution, and how collaboration has been able to drive the pace and major achievements on how services are commissioned and delivered; a single hospital trust and the vision for the local care organisation to bring more support into communities.
It also recognised how all the major developments to date and for the future had been based on the needs of Manchester people, their views, and strong insight into the health issues facing our communities.
Ian Williamson, Chief Accountable Officer for Manchester Health and Care Commissioning (a partnership with Manchester City Council and Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Feedback is always useful and in this case it’s particularly heartening because it reflects our own assessment of services. This clarity is vital because it underpins where we need to make changes - for example where there is inconsistency in service across the city and where there issues in the care market that then have an impacts on urgent care. And, importantly the review also reinforces our strengths around the plans for system-change and partnership working – which will provide the long-term foundation for transforming where and how services are delivered for the best results for people who live here.”
Jon Rouse, Chief Officer for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (the body overseeing the region's devolved £6bn health and social care budget), said: “At a Greater Manchester level we are grateful for the work undertaken by the CQC with the City of Manchester. This has been a genuinely useful independent review highlighting examples of good practice and areas for improvement. When we took charge of health and care in Greater Manchester in April 2016 we were under no illusion about the significant scope for improvement in services across all parts of Greater Manchester. It is good that CQC have recognised the positive steps that have already been taken and we are confident that the City of Manchester will take the findings of this review seriously and prioritise the necessary actions required.”
Just as positive feedback was welcome, so too has been the constructive comments about the need for more consistency in services across the city.
Dr Carolyn Kus, Executive Director of Strategic Commissioning for Manchester Health and Care Commissioning (whose role also includes being director of adult social services), said: “While we know there is a clear and compelling vision for the future, there is some inconsistency around current service integration and we need to be addressed.
“We also know that business as usual must be maintained. Ultimately, the planned changes we are all working for will help to take the pressure off the health and social care system to make it fit for the future. But until then, we are mindful of heavy caseloads – within our social work teams for example – which need to be addressed.
“Likewise, we need more resilience in our domiciliary and residential care sector for both the people it affects and its impact on the urgent care system.
“This review is an opportunity for Manchester to make improvements, while it continues to strive for excellence and to improve the health and care outcomes for our residents the best possible services for everyone who lives here. As part of that I’d like to thank our dedicated staff, carers and the people of Manchester for their help to shape the quality and the delivery of services that we would all want for our own families and loved ones.”
The results of the LSR will also be fed back to the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board in January.
Sir Richard Leese, Chair of Manchester’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “I am pleased to read the findings of the recent CQC review and how it reflects the city’s commitment to improving health outcomes.
“The report will be considered in fuller detail at the next meeting of the board in January. In the meantime, however, it does signal that Manchester is progressing well on its journey to transform how residents experience health and care support, and how, by working better with communities and the voluntary and community sector, we can make more of what they have to offer to help people stay independent and in their homes longer as they get older.”