London Mayor Sadiq Khan has welcomed a new report from tank tank Localis which calls for greater devolution of healthcare funding.
The Government has already handed control of all local NHS funding in Manchester to a new strategic partnership and announced a number of devolution pilots in London which could pave the way for more local control of healthcare services.
However today’s report calls for a more consistent approach to devolution and says local leaders should be empowered to establish ‘health taxes’ to help fund services and address local needs.
Other proposals include allowing the social care precept to rise above 2%, freedom from national performance targets and rationalising local NHS estates into one body in a bid to reduce the £7.3bn currently spent on managing property assets.
Jack Airey, author of the report and Interim Chief Executive of Localis, said: “The centralised nature of the health service is neither sustainable nor desirable in the 21st century.
“The NHS should therefore be front and centre of the next round of devolution deals, with local leaders empowered with the necessary financial flexibilities needed to drive sustainable transformation in their area.
“In practice this would catalyse the creation of what would in effect be radical local nanny states, keeping local populations fit, healthy and out of hospital; whilst also providing much greater local democratic influence in the health service.”
The report has been welcomed by Mr Khan who pledged “to provide real leadership for London’s NHS” during the campaign to succeed Boris Johnson as Mayor.
Speaking today, he said: “This report is further evidence that devolution is crucial for London, and all our cities and neighbourhoods, to take back control of their own destinies.
“Providing NHS leaders with greater flexibility and ownership over their services will help them to better meet local demands and manage the health of their communities.
“London has become the main tax generator for the whole country, and putting this money back into the capital’s health services and giving them better powers will help create an integrated, sustainable NHS to be proud of.”