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London will get more local control after devolution deal

A health devolution agreement for London has been signed today, marking the start of a major power transition for local healthcare leaders.

The agreement includes the 'London Partners' who are all London Clinical Commissioning Groups, and local authorities, as well as national bodies such as NHS England, Health Education England, NHS Improvement and Public Health England.

As part of the agreement, the London Partners will be given input on government decisions about relief funding for struggling local healthcare providers.

George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, said: “Today's agreement is another crucial step in our devolution revolution and is the start of us handing over valuable healthcare power to local leaders in London.

“This deal means that not only will the people of London have more control over decisions that affect their lives, it will also lead to better, more joined up health care in the capital for Londoners,” he added.

This comes a year since 'Devo Manc' was announced in November 2014, which meant that councils and the NHS in Greater Manchester could take control of the region's £6 billion health and social care budget.

The agreement, signed today at Great Ormond Street Hospital, will begin with five devolution pilots, which will be launched across London:

·       Haringey will run a prevention pilot to develop new approaches to public health issues by exploring existing planning and licensing powers.

·       Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge will run a pilot to develop an Accountable Care Organisation, where primary and secondary care are more closely integrated and patient pathways are redesigned with a focus on intervening early and managing the chronically ill.

·       North Central London (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, Islington) will run an estates pilot to test new approaches to collaboration on asset use.

·       Lewisham will run a pilot seeking to integrate physical and mental health services alongside social care.

·       Hackney will run a health and social care integration pilot, aiming for full integration of health and social care budgets and joint provision of services. This will also have a particular focus on prevention.

In return, the Partners must look at NHS estate in London and increase incentives for trusts to make better use of property.

The CCGs and local authorities will also look at how flexibilities in existing planning and licensing powers could contribute to public health goals.