Seven-day GP ac­cess bid by end of the year

Salford Advertiser - - NEWS - Jen­nifer Wil­liams

SEVEN-DAY GP ac­cess will be avail­able to ev­ery­one through­out Greater Manch­ester by the end of this year.

The huge step for­ward is a re­sult of the rad­i­cal de­vo­lu­tion deal which puts the re­gion in con­trol of its £6bn health and so­cial bud­get.

Although the Tories have promised seven-day GP ac­cess some time in the next five years if they get elected, town hall and health chiefs in Greater Manch­ester aim to start rolling out the ex­tended ser­vice by De­cem­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to pa­pers due to go be­fore a pri­vate meet­ing last week, the move is one of sev­eral ‘early wins’ bosses want to achieve from the deal.

They show the health and so­cial care sys­tem across Greater Manch­ester would face a £1.1bn short­fall within two years un­der a pre-de­vo­lu­tion set-up.

But bosses hope the huge shake-up will ad­dress its ‘frail­ties’, help­ing make it fi­nan­cially sus­tain­able.

The pa­pers high­light a cat­a­logue of cur­rent prob­lems - in­clud­ing GPs not in­ter­ven­ing sooner to stop peo­ple get­ting sick in the first place, in­ad­e­quate fo­cus on public health pre­ven­tion, poor men­tal health ser­vices and hos­pi­tals that are ‘frag­mented and ex­pen­sive and which may be seen to fo­cus more on or­gan­i­sa­tional pri­or­i­ties than those of the places and peo­ple they are in­tended to serve’.

Our sis­ter pa­per, the M.E.N., un­der­stands the GP pro­posal is at a very early stage and is still un­der dis­cus­sion with doc­tors, some of whom are not yet on board.

It is ex­pected some surg­eries will open when they cur­rently don’t, while else­where pa­tients might have to visit a drop-in.

Health and coun­cil bosses hope the move will even­tu­ally be repli­cated through­out the en­tire conur­ba­tion.

Greater Manch­ester’s health deal has proved highly con­tro­ver­sial since it was an­nounced.

Labour shadow health sec­re­tary Andy Burn­ham said this week he had ‘real mis­giv­ings’ about the plan, which he said had been drawn up ‘on the back of an en­ve­lope’ and will see the re­gion’s en­tire health and so­cial care bud­get handed over from 2016.

But the pa­pers show much de­tailed work has been car­ried out.

As well as GP ac­cess, a new pro­gramme is planned to help peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems back into work, along with a Greater Manch­ester-wide mas­ter­plan to join up de­men­tia ser­vices.

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