Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man: NHS care 'should be run at arm's length' from government

Person with clipboard in hospital
Image caption Sir Jonathan Michael's report said health services should be delivered by a body "at arm's length" from the government

Health and social care services in the Isle of Man should be delivered "at arm's length" from the government, an independent review has concluded.

Its report made 26 recommendations and outlined plans for a "Manx Care" body, headed by a "mainly non-executive" board, which would deliver healthcare.

The new organisation would be required to report to Tynwald annually.

Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan said the "much needed" report had the "full support" of the Council of Ministers.

The report and its recommendations will be debated by the Manx parliament at the May sitting of Tynwald.

Former NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael was appointed by the Manx Treasury to head the review in March 2018.

It followed a series of overspends by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Sir Jonathan said the current organisational structure and systems of the Manx health service were "inhibiting" staff, and the department would "need help from outside".

A £5m transformation fund to accompany the review was approved as part of the department's 2019-20 budget.

Image caption Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan (left) said the report had the "full support" of the Council of Ministers

Under the proposals, development of policy and strategy for future health services would remain in the hands of the DHSC.

Mr Cannan said the government was at a "critical juncture" and the recommendations offered a "really exciting opportunity to get this right".

The report also recommended annual increases in funding for health services to meet rising costs, and the setting of budgets on a three-to-five-year basis, rather than annually.

Other recommendations included:

  • The introduction of a 24/7 patient transfer service for those in need of acute care at UK hospitals
  • Increased use of telemedicine for patients treated by consultants in the UK
  • A consolidation of out-of-hours medical services into one island-wide service
  • The introduction of annual efficiency targets
  • A more flexible approach to funding elderly care to allow people to stay in their own homes for longer
  • Moving the public health directorate into the Cabinet Office to provide cross-government advice

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