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Health and care organisations in Surrey have signed an agreement to integrate health and social care in the region, marking an agreement similar to that in Greater Manchester.
Covering the area looked after by Guildford & Waverley, North West Surrey and Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Groups, the agreement outlines how partners will work together to improve the health outcomes of the 850,000 people living in Surrey Heartlands, which would see the region gain more power over health and social care budgets.
The plans, which if finalised would begin in April 2018, would seek to: accelerate the integration of health and social care through much closer working between partners; increase public engagement and the involvement of the people of Surrey Heartlands around the transformation of health and social care; and increase local decision-making and flexibilities to achieve the best possible outcomes for the local population.
The agreement has been signed by the national bodies NHS England and NHS Improvement, alongside Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), North West Surrey CCG, Surrey Downs CCG and Surrey County Council.
Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: "Surrey Heartlands is embarking on a ground-breaking plan to integrate healthcare which will mean better joined up services in place of what has often been a fragmented system that passes people from pillar to post."
David McNulty, Surrey County Council chief executive, said: "This is a really significant step towards bringing together health and social care in our county and giving people better, more efficient services. I'm sure that it will give fresh impetus to our efforts to work as one team to make devolution a reality for the benefit of local residents."
With evolving cyber threats facing the NHS and other healthcare organisations, addressing cyber security must be a priority for all organisations handling patient records and sensitive data.