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Greater Manchester sets out a new primary care plan

NHS Greater Manchester and the Primary Care Provider Board have launched a new five-year plan to improve access to primary care services

It aims to improve contact with general practices and employing more staff to help ease workload. Director of primary care, Rob Bellingham, said that making sure people can see their GPs quickly and efficiently is a ‘top priority’ to NHS Greater Manchester. 

The plan is a response to a scheme called the Big Conversation, which brought residents of Greater Manchester and health staff together to talk about improvements needed in healthcare. NHS Greater Manchester have described the plan as changes based on ‘what matters to people living in Greater Manchester’. The plan covers general practice, dentistry, pharmacies and eyecare services. Chair of the Greater Manchester Primary Care Provider Board, Luvjit Kandula, said, ‘This primary care blueprint is rightly ambitious in what it sets out for people living in Greater Manchester. We want people to have better and more convenient access to care and help people manage their own health.’

Planned changes to general practice includes, a goal to ensure same-day urgent access to GPs when in urgent need, tackling the ‘8am rush’ in general practices and increase vaccination uptake. Currently, there are 1,800 primary care services which provide the first point of contact for patients in Greater Manchester, including 411 GP practices. Already, 1,600 additional staff in general practice have been recruited as part of the plan, with the aim to ease workload on GPs and nurses. Bellingham noted that the increased intake in staff ‘aims to address some of the immediate pressures facing our workforce and make primary care a more attractive place to work’.

In the last year, the total number of GP appointments in Greater Manchester sat at 16,146,641. NHS Greater Manchester and the Primary Care Provider Board hope to support the workforce of 22,000 with this demand to bring its patients the right care at the right time. Luvjit Kandula concluded, ‘We are proud of what is working well and mindful of where we need to make improvements to people’s access and care. We are working to make this happen and are confident the public will benefit.’