In response to the announcement that NHS and Manchester leaders plan to join up health and social care budgets worth £6bn, Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said:

“We welcome this pioneering move. Older people are the greatest users of the NHS and social care services, so a key test of proposals in Manchester will be whether they improve the quality of health and care services for older people in the city. We should not underestimate the challenge. Health and care have different funding models – one is free, the other is means tested. The difficulties of the Better Care Fund, which aims to develop much smaller joint health and care schemes, shows that the route to integration is not easy and the proposal is going ahead at a time when pressure on NHS and social care budgets has never been greater. So it will be crucial to see fully-costed, detailed plans on how the new system will work in practice.”

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