Monday, 29 June 2015

What impact will the Council's plans for devolution have on the NHS?

Even members of the Council's Working Group on devolution do not understand what the Council have in mind in relation to health. An extra meeting has been arranged for today to try to explain it.

If we are only talking about joint commissioning (arranging in Council speak) of social care services, then that makes a lot of sense. Indeed, the Coalition Government  gave Cornwall funding to run a pilot project to get this done. So, no big deal on devolution, the Council should just get on with the job.

However, if it means the devolution of  the health budget  to Cornwall (as appears to be happening in Manchester: Devo Manc) then, I think there would be widespread concern about this.  This appears to be contemplated by the draft business case provided to members in January.

Apparently, Manchester believes that it can take a 5 per cent cut in Central Government funding and still make more savings to use locally.  But, it is risky.  The Cornwall Council's net budget is (only) £500m compared to the health budget of £1.3 billion.

Surely this needs public debate.  The Welsh Health Service has been described by the British  Medical Association as in 'imminent meltdown'.   So, if the Council get this wrong, there is a huge potential for failure.

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