Councils won't get control of NHS money
02 August 2012
By Iain Robinson
Councils have a vital role to play in making health reforms work in communities, but the NHS will retain control of the money, Sir David Nicholson has said.
The NHS chief executive told the LGA annual conference that a closer partnership between health services and local government would be crucial to the successful switch to clinical commissioning groups next April.
But he said that a more localised approach to health and wellbeing would not entail the devolution of increased budgetary controls to councils.
Nicholson told delegates: "We need to operate on the basis that the community and patients are in charge and ask what we can do to make that a reality. We won't get service change without that kind of commitment, but this is going to be very challenging for local government.
"It will involve quite significant shifts of services and responsibilities from hospitals to communities, and that, in the past, has been quite difficult for people to do.
"The challenge for local government is to sit around the table with us all and talk about the strategy for health improvement and the resources in the system and talk with local people and politicians about how to make that a reality."
But he said: "The thing I am determined will not happen as we go through this transition is that we will not lose control of the money. In theory, much of the debate is about localism, but in practice I have more control centrally over the money in the NHS than ever before, and I don't apologise for that.
"My aim is to have every CCG going forward with no legacy debt at all to give it the best chance of success, and I am confident that will happen."