The Greater Manchester NHS opportunity - are private healthcare providers ready?

Much has been made of the new look Greater Manchester NHS since it was announced it will have control of its own budget from 2016 – and a new report this week claims the model to be the perfect blueprint for saving our poor, cash-strapped health service.

What’s important here are the opportunities now available in Greater Manchester for local people, the NHS and private businesses as the area moves to reduce hospital visits by 60,000 a year and offer more preventative and home-based care.

            1. Local people

Around 600,000 people in the region look set to benefit from a more personalised approach to their health thanks to devolution. By having the ability to control its own budget, Greater Manchester NHS can look at the services really needed by patients and choose to invest in them. In correlation to this, local people can have more of a say about which services they believe they need. The rise in e-health monitoring services, like the soon-to-launch Caros, arm patients with the knowledge they need when they visit their GP in order to access the right services. If high blood pressure or obesity are flagged as a persistent problem the area can choose to invest more in services to aid people in these areas.

2. The NHS

It’s no secret savings have to be made and the pilot in Greater Manchester could live up to the hope and the hype in doing just that. There’s an ingrained assumption that needs to be overturned first, though, and that’s the notion that it doesn’t matter how sick you get, the NHS will fix you and pay the bill. What devolution in this case can help do is put the onus back onto the individual and encourage people to get more involved in their own health. Personal monitoring, as mentioned above, better local services and a clear path to wellness can all be used to reduce the healthcare bill and make people responsible for their health.

3. Private businesses

Whilst the privatisation of the NHS is a point of contention in the UK right now, businesses can look to profit from devolution without damaging the care patients receive or the ethos the NHS is built upon. It’s not clear yet who will have control of the budget for Greater Manchester but according to a piece in The Independent in February 10 councils, 14 NHS providers and 12 GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups are involved in discussions at the moment.

Leisure trusts, equipment manufacturers, healthcare monitoring and healthcare technology companies should be working to get in front of these key decision makers and highlight how their service can help Greater Manchester NHS offer more targeted care delivered on time and to budget.