The news that the health and social care budgets in Manchester are to be integrated is a massive step forward for better health and well-being there - and a beacon for the rest of the country.
When I wrote the Winterbourne View report I recommended that budgets for health and care for people with learning disabilities must be combined. This move in Manchester will enable better planning and commissioning that ensures community placements, not placements in institutions. Interestingly, the figures on the use of institutions show that the North uses institutions for people with learning disabilities significantly more than the rest of the country. Often councils have block contracts with institutions like Calderstones in Lancashire, and it is too easy for them to use those places than make proper provision in the community. And shockingly these cost up to £12,000 a week. Community places are both more cost effective and better care. The move in Manchester and the decision ...more