Financial challenges facing organisations in Greater Manchester will require a radical upscaling of shared services across the acute sector, according to NHS health leaders.
The financial outlook for the region ensures that the trust will need to share back office, diagnostic and clinical support functions going forward.
Plans have already been put in place in Greater Manchester that will see the region’s emergency services consolidated into four single services.
But the document submitted as part of the region’s devolution bid prepares the ground for further “bold decisions” to be made.
The Manchester Health and Social Care Locality Plan aims to completely reorganise specialised services in Greater Manchester in light of significant financial difficulties.
According to the plan itself, a funding gap over £300 million in Manchester’s health and social care economy should be expected between now and 2020-21.
The document is intended to create a framework in which specialised services can be organised on a more efficient and effective basis.
As a result of efficiency savings suggested by the documents, the gap in expenditure is expected to be cut significantly to around £84 million.
Sharing will be a central part of the efficiency plans, and Central Manchester Hospitals Foundation Trust and University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust will partially merge with this aim in mind.
The two organisations will create a single service for emergency care as part of the ‘Healthier Together’ process.
However, it is worth noting that the plans for this concept cannot be finalised at the time of writing due to a legal challenge.
Nonetheless, the two foundation trusts have indicated that they intended to work together in a raft of other areas.
A spokesperson commenting on behalf of the two organisations stated that “the potential benefits of shared back office functions such as payroll or supplies are fairly clear – we are already working together to develop a joint approach to procurement.”
The spokesperson also stated that the two organisations were considering the prospect of expanding their agreement in the future.
“In principle there could be similar opportunities in diagnostic and clinical support services, which we will be exploring going forward but there are no plans for shared clinical support services at present.”
With regard to specialised services, the client also states that populations in south and central Manchester have “significantly higher rates of tertiary activity than areas where the local hospital is not also a tertiary centre”.
There is thus the intention of addressing this variation and inequality in the immediate future.
The Central Manchester Hospitals Organisation have also indicated that they are exploring partnership working arrangements with Salford Royal Foundation Trust across radiology and immunology.
It is clear that collaboration will be an important part of efficiency savings in the future.