• Health leaders in Manchester will aim to create a single provider of out of hospital services by April 2017
  • Two major teaching trusts will also aim to merge by the same date
  • The aim is for GPs to be “contractually linked” to the new non-acute provider

STRUCTURE: Health leaders in Manchester will aim to create a single provider of out of hospital services by April 2017, as well as merging two major teaching trusts.

A “local care organisation”, which would hold a single contract for all non-acute care, would encompass community services, social care, prescribing and public health services.

There will be a phased approach to transferring services into the LCO over the next five years.

The aim is for primary care to be provided under the LCO as well, with GPs “contractually linked” to the new provider. However, this will depend on GPs signing up to the government’s new “multispecialty community provider” contract.

HSJ has previously reported the plans to merge Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust and University Hospital of South Manchester FT.

Under the plans, the merged organisation would not take on the community services currently run by the trusts. These would transfer in the LCO, along with those currently run in north Manchester by Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust.

The timescales are set out in reports to the city council’s health overview and scrutiny committee, which meets tomorrow.

A report by Gill Heaton, deputy chief executive at CMFT and chair of the Manchester Provider Board, said: “The intention is to establish a local care organisation which is capable of holding a single contract with commissioners for out of hospital care from April 2017.

“The local care organisation will need to have the capability to manage a multi-year, capitated contract and be able to (re)allocate resources on the basis of need using risk stratification approach.

“A key component of this work is engagement with primary care around the adoption of the new GP contract… [This] will be the mechanism by which they will be contractually linked to the local care organisation.”

The new voluntary GP contract encourages the formation of large scale extended primary care providers. The city’s local medical committee is heavily involved in, and supportive, of the plans.

Similar work is currently progressing in Stockport, while Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group published detailed plans for a £244m a year MCP contract earlier this month.

The Manchester Provider Board, which represents all health care providers in the city, plans to publish more detailed plans in September.

It is not yet clear whether the LCO could sit within one of the existing NHS trusts, be a joint vehicle created by separate organisations or whether there would be a full procurement process. Commissioners in Dudley say a bidding process is necessary for their project.

A separate report sets out the timeline for merging the two FTs by April, with North Manchester General Hospital – currently run by Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust – transferring into the new trust in 2018.