Better health services for residents as integration becomes reality

Photo of Donna Hal CEO Wigan Council

The integration of health and social care in Wigan Borough has taken a major step forward as a single commissioning function is established.

Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan Council, has been appointed as the new accountable officer for the Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), thereby creating a single joint accountable officer for both organisations.

The council and CCG budgets will be pooled and a joint commissioning committee will oversee its spending. The committee will be made up of politicians, clinicians and staff from both organisations, and will ensure the money is spent as effectively as possible.

This means there will be one single function commissioning all services in the borough, including hospital services, mental health services and community healthcare.

Following the £6bn devolution of health and social care in 2016, each of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs were tasked with producing a local plan to improve the health of residents and to make services more joined up. An important part of the plan is to bring together leaders from organisations with responsibility for commissioning health and care services to do so in a joined up way.

Leader of Wigan Council, Cllr David Molyneux, said: “Donna’s appointment is a major step towards our vision of transforming local services and providing high quality, sustainable services that meet the needs of our residents through The Deal.

“The long term health and wellbeing of residents will only be improved if organisations and individuals work together.

“We’re already seeing some really positive results of this kind of joined up working between adult social care services and community nursing and with GP clusters, and across the borough where public services like the police, health and council are working together under one roof to solve some of the local issues.

“To support the providers of services working together it is really important that commissioning of these services is also joined up as much as possible.  It is a great step forward for the Council and CCG to not only continue to work effectively together but to have a responsibility for a shared budget.”

Dr Tim Dalton, Local GP and Chair of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “As we march towards the celebrations for 70 years of our much-loved NHS, it is timely to reflect on how much the world has changed during its lifespan and how the NHS needs to change to keep pace.  Our ability to find, treat and cure has been revolutionised; technology has been revolutionised; medicine has been revolutionised; and people live their lives in a way that would have been almost unimaginable in 1948.

“Despite all this progress, the management of the NHS continues much as it was built in 1948.  This has to change.  Bringing together health and social care commissioning is a tremendous leap forward helping us to take the local NHS in to the 21st century.

“It will mean that together, the CCG and the Council can design local services that support you as residents to live happier, healthier lives.  Whilst we reform ourselves and embrace the next 70 years of the NHS, I ask that you too support your local NHS by making sure you look after your own wellbeing and continue to use services responsibly.”

Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Foundation Trust also welcomed Donna’s appointment as all organisations work together to deliver well planned and co-ordinated services. Chief Executive, Andrew Foster said:  “This is the best possible appointment and I very much look forward to even closer working with Donna, the CCG and Council. We already have very similar cultures in our organisations with a strong emphasis on quality, high performance and staff engagement. Wigan Council’s The Deal is something that we can all build upon together.”

David Fillingham, Independent Chair- Healthier Wigan Partnership, said: “The news of Donna’s appointment is another great step forward for the whole borough as we strive towards truly joined up health and social care.  All partners have been encouraging their staff to work closely together over the past couple of years and this approach was cemented with the launch of the Healthier Wigan Partnership in April.  This recent news about the leadership of the Council and CCG means we are even more confident that local people will always continue to be at the centre of our work.”