Health and local government leaders predict they can squeeze pounds80m a year more out of existing resources under ambitious plans to pilot new models of care in Tyne & Wear.

The target is included in the area's bid for health action zone status, giving the most detailed insight yet of what a proposed zone might look like and achieve.

The Tyne & Wear bid is tipped to be among those that will be given the go-ahead by ministers to proceed this year.

Other front-runners are thought to include Manchester, Croydon, Plymouth, Camden and Islington, and Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham.

A report outlining the Tyne & Wear bid, seen by the Journal, includes among three overall goals increasing the value of care by 10 per cent for every pound spent.

The three health authorities covered by the proposed zone - Gateshead & South Tyneside, Newcastle & North Tyneside and Sunderland - would have a total budget of around pounds800m.

The HAZ initiative is based on the assumption that the zone will increase the value from existing NHS resources by an estimated pounds80m a year by the fourth year of its existence, the report, A Fair Chance in Life, states.

Sunderland HA chief executive Clare Dodgson said the pounds80m would not all necessarily be cash savings.

'We are looking at value in a wider, holistic sense. It is about more than money and activity, although of course we will be looking for some savings,' she said

'The goal is challenging but we think it is achievable.'

The two other overall goals are to increase life expectancy in the area to the top 10 per cent in Europe and to launch 100 new initiatives to improve health and care.

The overall approach would be collaborative, with plans to establish new partnerships between organisations, local people and other stakeholders, including the private sector.

In the drive to tackle poverty, it is proposed to offer 100 NHS job places under the govern- ment's New Deal initiative.

The HAZ will also promote the development of new community businesses in areas of special action to provide locally based community care services, as well as local employment and training opportunities.

Other proposals include the creation of a self-care and participation unit to develop and sustain a self-care culture across Tyne & Wear.

Meanwhile, health minister Alan Milburn announced this week that there had been a total of 41 bids for HAZ status. Around 10 will be selected to go live from 1 April this year, with a second wave expected in 1999.