BOLTON is to take hold of £28.8m in funding towards a three years shake-up of its health service.

Today health chiefs in Greater Manchester (GM) gave the green light to the substantial pot of money which will help transform how services are delivered in the borough.

The Bolton Health and Social Care Partnership has been awarded the funding over the next three years to implement changes in health and social care through the Bolton Locality Plan.

The groundbreaking partnership is made up of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Foundation Trust, Bolton Council, GM Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Healthwatch Bolton, Bolton GP Federation and Bolton CVS.

Bolton Council deputy leader, Cllr Linda Thomas, chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "We have been given an opportunity to radically change the way we deliver health and social care in Bolton and we must do this by working together even more closely than ever before; pooling resources; sharing expertise and ultimately improving the health of our residents.

"If we were to continue as we are there would be a funding shortage of millions of pounds. However, with transformation fund investment and delivery of the Locality Plan our intention is to make Bolton a healthier borough. We have worked hard to get to this point and we are confident the proposed changes will deliver better outcomes for our residents."

An initial bid was put to the GM Health and Social Care Partnership Transformation Fund for £49.8m investment over four years.

However, the GM chiefs decided that Bolton should be able to self-fund the plan after three years, while further money could be provided through a separate digital fund.

CCG chief cfficer Su Long said: "We are very pleased to get the green light for the funding. It is quite a good proportion of what we asked for in a three year investment, with a chance for further investment in the future.

"GM says it is a quality plan and we are looking at the right things, which shows all the hard work has paid off and create something that can be supported."

The Locality Plan puts into action a method of dealing with the forecasts of a financial gap of £162 million for health and care in Bolton by 2020.
Changes include initiatives such as reducing the amount of over-the-counter available medicines prescribed through the NHS, bringing more specialists into the community, focusing on providing home-based services for the elderly and people suffering from mental health problems, and reducing a reliance on hospital beds.

The transformation funding has been made available through the Greater Manchester devolution and the forming of the Health and Social Care Partnership. Bolton CCG is one of 10 localities which formed the devolution in April and took charge of £6 billion to spend on the region.

A spokesperson for the Bolton Health and Social Care Partnership added: "This is great news for Bolton, giving us the power and the resources to make real change in the way we deliver services for our communities.

"The plan focusses on how everyone with an involvement in health and wellbeing in Bolton can play their part, so that we can build a system which delivers real benefits for Bolton people."

Initial proposals will see Bolton receiving £3.08m this year, followed by a further £13.19m and £12.49m from 2018 to 2019.

Areas of focus include care homes, emotional and physical wellbeing, mental health, urgent and primary care and workforce.
The partnership is to hold further discussions with the GM team, expected to be completed by mid-March, before the funds are officially handed over.

The funding announcement was made at the GM Health and Social Care Strategic Partnership Board held this morning in Wigan.