FINANCE: Greater Manchester is to appoint a single office to take the reins of the £400m savings programme that must be delivered by its commissioners by 2015.

The Greater Manchester cluster of primary care trusts – the largest in England, incorporating 10 PCTs – used its inaugural board meeting this month to approve proposals for a city-wide quality, innovation, productivity and prevention programme management office.

The health economy has one of the toughest QIPP savings targets nationally outside London – £878m in over four years, split into £398m from commissioners and £480m from providers.

The office will be responsible for developing Greater Manchester’s QIPP strategy for redesigning services, monitoring and analysing QIPP plans in the city, raising the alarm and suggesting “corrective action” if savings or quality improvements are not being realised, and leading delivery of some programmes. Its establishment is a key element of the commissioners’ response to a “deep dive” examination of the area’s QIPP plans that was carried out by the Department of Health and NHS North West in January.

The area was told that, in the North West, Greater Manchester had the “least evidence” of the collaborative work needed to make savings “that cannot be accomplished by organisations working in isolation”.

At a second “deep dive” in April, the strategic health authority and the DH “recognised recent progress” and downgraded the risk Greater Manchester would not deliver its savings from “red” to “amber”, a GM cluster board paper reports. But it also “emphasised the urgent need to systematically implement the transformational work at pace”.

The report said Greater Manchester’s programme of work would include the development of pan-Manchester approaches to the decommissioning of services, and prescribing medicines, as well as city-wide care models for acute oncology and long-term conditions.

The cluster’s finance report shows Manchester has the biggest savings target of the 10 PCTs by cash value at £66m by 2015.