Seven-day GP access bid by end of the year
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.