Heather Davison, Director of Education and Development at RSPH, shares what she learned about integrated health and social care delivery with GMFRS in Greater Manchester.

I left London to travel to the North West region last week where it was a few degrees colder even with a flurry of snow, but the hot topic at all my meetings was "Devo Manc". The run up to the full handing over of the health and care budget is truly on its way with 2016 just around the corner.

Everyone I met from the wonderful Kate Ardern Director of Public Health at Wigan Council and Vicky Bannister Director at Wigan and Leigh Homes to Ed Moss Development Director at Young Advisers, are so full of positive energy and the art of the possible that you cannot help but feel the future direction of the public’s health and wellbeing is in good hands.  

My visit to the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) also gained my vote of confidence.  I had the privilege of meeting Andy Boswell, Adrian Peake and Ian Plummer from the Community Risk Intervention Team. 

The team has been created as part of a collaborative pilot between GMFRS, North West Ambulance Service and Greater Manchester Police to help drive further reductions in risk to the most vulnerable communities across Greater Manchester through a wider approach to prevention activities. The project has the potential to save the public purse £3.2milliion per year as a consequence of increased independence and reduction of demand. 

In addition to substantive economic saving, this type of integrated working also has social value. The team members I met were so enthusiastic and committed to their roles which take them into the heart of the community. And it's crystal clear their skills and ongoing training and the backing of the joined up services ‘trusted brand status’ can play an important part in the further integration of health and social care provision across Greater Manchester. 

It was cold but sunny with blue skies when I left the GMFRS headquarters in Salford for my final meeting before heading South. The weather was energizing as only sunshine on a cold day can be. It matched for me the feel of the place and the tremendous energy and enthusiasm everyone I had met during my stay has for their organizations, communities and for Greater Manchester itself - it's your time and we are proud to be part of your future.