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The role of research in DevoManc

On 2 June, the Health Services Research Network and Nuffield Trust hosted a seminar looking at the role of health research and innovation in DevoManc.

Is DevoManc something completely different, or just a blip on the road to further centralisation?

Speakers from GM’s Academic Health Science Network, the NHS Confederation, Manchester Business School and UCL considered the road ahead, and how the region can provide valuable evidence for future devolutions.

Among the challenges listed were issues around governance, how finance will be managed and distributed, keeping all partners aligned, and providing a compelling narrative to build public support.

Contentious decisions will have to be taken around organisation of services and care, and to make integration between health and social care a reality. Strong political leadership on a local level will be essential here.

Healthcare and health research is now recognised as a key economic driver; investment in this area could pay back dividends for DevoManc. Getting researchers involved from the beginning means they will be able to feed into policy, rather than simply evaluating the results.

The thorny balance of meeting centrally-set targets through local initiatives is likely to determine the success of the devolution. As the speakers identified, there is a difference between devolving commissioning and provision functions.

There is considerable support for and interest in DevoManc, both from inside the region and across the UK. Manchester’s health ecosystem has a huge opportunity ahead to provide care in a smarter way; making use of new technologies like FARSITE and NorthWest EHealth’s Linked Database System, and cross-organisation working to drive economic growth and demonstrate the potential of local control.

For more on the seminar, see the hashtag #DevoManc or follow @NWEHealth

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