It has been a couple of weeks since the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester – and the event’s timing could not have been better in many ways for us in the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care team.

Coming six months into the process to hand the city region’s authorities control of a £6 billion NHS and social care budget, it was a chance to take stock and reflect, both on the fast pace of progress to date and to look ahead to the challenges and opportunities of devolution with an informed Expo audience.

Our long-term vision for devolved powers is simple; to ensure the greatest and fastest possible improvement to the health and wellbeing of the 2.8 million people of Greater Manchester. The devolution of powers from London to regional authorities provides the tools for allowing this to happen, giving us the nuts and bolts to establish a new system that works for Greater Manchester.

With nearly 10,000 people attending the Expo over two days, the event gave us a chance to see the changes which are already happening through other people’s eyes, and share our work to date with them.

It was an invaluable experience to be able to share our story with the thousands who passed through our stand, discussing devolution with our team of people representing all sectors and areas in GM. We had people running pop-up universities, giving presentations on the main stage and sharing our story throughout the Expo, proving just how far we’ve already come in building new relationships and common goals.

There is a real buzz in the air just now and we’re undertaking huge amounts of work, with innovative ideas coming thick and fast as we look to define exactly what a Greater Manchester health and social care system looks like. The major changes will become clearer in the coming weeks as we build the most compelling story of transformation health and social care in England has ever seen.

We have the system with us – our challenge in this fast-paced environment is to make sure we take the people of Greater Manchester with us. That’s our focus for the coming months at this historic time for our great city region.

Ian Williamson,
Chief Officer