Challenges for Transforming Care

My family and I have recently moved from London to South Manchester as I have started a new, exciting, professional challenge - that of Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care (GMHSC) Partnership.

GMHSC Partnership is the body made up of the 37 NHS organisations and councils in the city region, which is overseeing devolution and taking charge of the £6bn health and social care budget for Greater Manchester. I am sad to leave behind so many great colleagues at the Department of Health but I now have an excellent opportunity to tackle the challenge of improving the health outcomes of 2.8million people in Greater Manchester.

As many of you are aware, learning disabilities is a major passion of mine and in this new role I have already begun to see how I can help make a real difference to people with learning disabilities in Greater Manchester. There is no question that over recent years the reliance on in-patient care for people with learning disabilities and / or autism has significantly reduced. However for a small number of people we are still relying on hospital based care, which can sometimes be away from family and friends.

Public service organisations should be looking at new ways of supporting people with learning disabilities and their families to encourage independence, develop new skills and relationships within their communities and access employment opportunities. This requires a whole public sector response to supporting people that stretches further than a traditional health and social care based model.

In Greater Manchester work had already started when in October last year a three-year £3million Greater Manchester plan to increase community-based care with a family focus was announced. This allowed Greater Manchester to use the opportunities of devolution and being a ‘fast track pilot’ to take a new look at how things can be done differently. With the person at the heart, Greater Manchester has developed intensive community based support that has enabled a reduction on a reliance on inpatient beds. Work done by the Manchester Learning Disability partnership and the Oldham Living Outcomes group has been a signpost to others in this respect.

However our ambition is now to go further and we are currently undertaking a whole system review of learning disability services, working with people to produce new models of care that meet their needs while encouraging independence.

• Jon Rouse
Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester
Health and Social Care Partnership

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