Greater Manchester will become the first English region to gain control of its health spending on Friday.
As part of an extension of devolved powers, the £6bn health and social care budget will be taken over by the region’s councils and health groups.
The Greater Manchester Strategic Partnership has now been formed comprising 37 organisations including hospital trusts, NHS England, the 10 borough councils and GP commissioners.
Lord Peter Smith is chairing the group.
The move will see local political leaders and NHS chiefs making decisions on how budgets are allocated and targeted at specific health issues, instead of decisions being made in Whitehall.
The government hopes integrating health and social care services will ease pressure on hospitals and help to improve home care services for patients who need it.
Lord Smith, who is leader of Wigan Council, said: “The big vision is about people and getting people’s health in Greater Manchester better.
“We spend £6bn on health and social care but life expectancy in Greater Manchester is not as good as it should be.
“Lots of people suffer from long-term illness and we’ve got great ambition to do something about their health.
“But it’s wider than health we want to do something for the economy.
“A lot of people can’t get into work because they have health problems, so if we can help them there will be more people getting back into work and we will have more wealth created in Manchester.”
Politicians and NHS leaders in support of the move say it will enable them to reshape health and social care according to the needs of local people.
But it comes at a time of financial pressure as £2bn needs to be saved from the budget by 2020 due to cuts in government funding and increasing costs.
Dr Zahid Chauhan, a GP in Failsworth, Oldham, raised questions about how that money will be saved.
He said: “My concerns with all this funding deficit and loss of £2bn is that we might struggle to achieve it and who will be responsible for that?
“Will it mean less doctors, appointments and operations? I don’t know, but those are the questions that need to be answered.”
New health aims for Greater Manchester
- Children: Improving levels of school readiness to projected England rates would mean that 3,250 more children in Greater Manchester will have a good level of development by 2021
- Babies: Reducing the number of low birth weight babies in Greater Manchester, to projected England rates, will result in 270 fewer very small babies (under 2,500g, or 5.5lbs) by 2021
- Reducing effects of poverty: Increasing the number of parents in employment with good terms, to projected England rates, will result in 16,000 fewer children in Greater Manchester living in poverty by 2021
- Heart Disease: Improving premature death rates from CVD, to the projected England average, will result in 600 fewer deaths by 2021
- Cancer: Improving premature death rates from cancer, to projected England average, will result in 1,300 fewer deaths by 2021.
- Respiratory disease: Improving premature death rates from respiratory disease, to the projected England average, will result in 580 fewer deaths by 2021
- Older people: Reducing the number of people over 65 admitted to hospital due to falls, to the projected England average, will result in 2,750 fewer serious falls