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Major new NHS devolution deal revealed

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A health and social care devolution style deal is being put in place in Surrey, it has been announced – the second after Greater Manchester.

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The arrangement will be similar to the one in Greater Manchester but not exactly the same.

Transformation funding for the Surrey Heartlands area – covering Surrey Downs, North West Surrey, and Guildford and Waverley clinical commissioning groups – will be confirmed for the coming years.

Extended delegated commissioning arrangements are also due to be put in place for the patch, however it is understood these are not yet finalised. The detail - for example of governance and local government involvement - are not yet clear.

It is the first area to receive a similar deal to Greater Manchester. There are some “devolution” arrangements in Greater London but these do not involve significant delegation of powers or budgets.

NHS England said: “This agreement will bring together the NHS locally with Surrey county council to integrate health and social care services and give local leaders and clinicians more control over services and funding.”

Matthew Tait – the former NHS England director who was recently appointed as joint chief officer for the CCGs – is expected to be confirmed as the accountable individual for the system; in a role akin to Jon Rouse’s in Manchester. 

The patch includes the constituency of health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Surrey was the subject of a row earlier this year over an apparent deal with the government to receive additional funding in return for dropping a referendum on raising council tax. At the time, the government cited the “devolution deals” it was working on.

It is part of announcements by NHS England today focusing on integration and developing health systems. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens was expected to name the first confirmed “accountable care systems” today at Confed 2017. These are also due to receive delegated transformation funding and powers.

NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh is expected to say later today: “We need to heal fractures between services and tear down those administrative, financial, philosophical and practical barriers to the kinds of services our patients want us to deliver.”

The national commissioning body is also announcing that it struck a deal with drugs company Roche to make the cancer drug Kadcyla available for routine use on the NHS, having previously rejected it on the grounds of affordability.

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