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Community engagement on the 5-year strategic plan

Responding to the Big Conversation

Phase 2 of the Big Conversation reached over 2000 underserved communities and collected over 10,000 views.  The views have been collated and are detailed in the report on the link below.

The findings have helped us immensely in understanding the needs and priorities of Greater Manchester in relation to health, care and wider. We have ensured our 5-year plan reflects these views and have identified the main themes from this engagement exercise and how they have influenced the strategy (in the table below).

Detailed actions for each of the things described below will be within our Joint Forward Plan which will be published in June 2023.

What people told us and what we have done in response


They were worried there might not be enough money and resources for health and care services, staff and the voluntary and community enterprise sector.


Managing money well is one of the commitments in the strategy: “We will … Manage public money well to achieve our objectives” (p.37)

Financial sustainability is one of the six missions (priorities) in the strategy: “Achieving financial sustainability for the health and care system can be described as ‘living within our means’ and ensuring that expenditure does not exceed income.”

We recognise that managing money well is a big challenge.  There has been a lot of pressure on the health and care system for many years and not enough money to meet needs.  Managing this in the longer term is hugely important to us which is why we have made it a priority in the strategy.

We will develop a plan called the Joint Forward Plan (JFP) in June which will include actions to help us manage money well and identify any areas where we can make improvements such as by reducing demand or increasing productivity.

They wanted improved access to health and care services including; doctors, mental health services, hospital care and dentists.


Improving access to health and care is a mission (priority) in our strategy

Mission: Recovering core NHS and care services

Some of the actions here include:

  • Improving ambulance response rates and A&E waiting times
  • Reducing waits for hospital elective care and cancer backlogs
  • Making it easier for people to access primary care, especially GPs
  • Ensuring everyone gets access to the same level of mental health services across Greater Manchester
  • Ensuring mental health is as important as physical health

NHS Greater Manchester and primary care providers will also engage on options to address the current issues surrounding access to NHS dental services and develop a dental access plan.

More details of the above are on pages 38 – 39 of the strategy.

Work has already started on the above but will be strengthened by the strategy and more actions will be in our Joint Forward Plan.

They wanted more personalised and person-centred care.

That means different people need to be cared for and supported in ways that work for them and that is different for different people.


Personalised care is a key focus of the strategy.

We have a section on page 13 of the strategy which commits to a way of working that means:

Names not numbers – Ensure we all listen to people, putting them at the centre, and personalising their care.

A key theme in our Model for Health (page 23) is ‘people and community approaches’ as one of its key themes.  This model is based on core principles of coproduction, working working with people and communities rather than ‘doing to’.” (page 22).

Actions for the above will be part of the Joint Forward Plan.

They want to see services paid for by the Government working better with voluntary organisations who can help people if different ways.


The voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) are central to our work and are a very important part of our Model for Health (page 22) and in the mission for strengthening our communities.

In Greater Manchester, we have put together an agreement in place with the VCSE which contains eight commitments shared across the VCSE, ourselves and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and it’s associated local councils.

We are already working closely with the VCSE sector, for example delivering social prescribing to people to help them live well.  You can read our case study on page 33 about a social prescribing project  supporting people to manage type 2 diabetes in Gorton and Levenshulme.

The VCSE have been central to delivery of our Big Conversation and have engaged with over 2000 underserved communities gathering over 10,000 views.  More details are contained on page 48.  We have established a working group to shape future engagement including how we work together to continue to engage people and communities.

We want to further develop how we work together to improve outcomes for Greater Manchester’s residents, enabling good lives for all and strengthening our communities as per our statements on page 32.

We should spend more time stopping people getting poorly in the first place.

They said we need to help people with the reasons they get poorly, including not having enough money.


The Model for Health on page 22 is a ‘social model’. This means it takes into account the wider things that affect people’s health (wider determinants).  This includes things like education, stronger communities, physical activity and good homes.  Working with partners we will further develop our actions to improve these things.

For examples, one of our missions is to strengthen communities (page 32).  This involves enabling individuals, families and communities to feel more confident in managing their own health and helping communities to support each other.  We are finding out what this feels like to communities by asking questions in the GMCA resident survey.  This will help us understand what actions we need to take to improve things.

We will continue to develop social prescribing in primary care at a local level to enable people to get the opportunities, advice and support in their community to lead a healthy happy life” and Coordinate our response to poverty – food, fuel, and transport.  More details are on page 33.

Some people feel invisible, unimportant and want to be heard and we need to change this.

This includes people with protected characteristics such as disabled people, people from the LGBTQ+ community and people who don’t speech English.  People also mentioned inclusion health groups such as those experiencing homelessness and the Gypsy, Roma and traveller community.

They told us, it is hard to get services, it is extra hard if you are one of the following as people do not understand your needs. 


Our missions on page 32 will be underpinned by the need to ensure equity, which means providing greater help for those with greater challenges to overcome in order to reduce inequality.

For example our mission for helping people stay well and detecting illness earlier is described on page 36 and includes a number of important activities to help with this;

  • Application of CORE20PLUS5 to reduce health inequalities across Greater Manchester, drive early cancer diagnosis, hypertension case finding, reduce hospitalisation for COPD, increase health checks for people with severe mental illness or learning disability, and improve maternity outcomes
  • Expansion of culturally appropriate services that better reach into disadvantaged communities
  • Monitor and target unwarranted variation for populations affected by inequalities.

To help us understand where there might be inequalities in access, experience or outcomes of health care and wellbeing we will engage with communities and look closely at data in relation to services and wellbeing.

Page 45 describes our commitment to this with the development of our Greater Manchester Intelligence Hub.  The hub is a web-based portal that is being co-designed to bring together data, community insight, web-based tools, guidance, shared learning and workforce development resources to support people working in health and care to better understand health inequalities and variation in care in their areas and implement models of care.

We will also ensure that we assess all our proposed plans including the Joint Forward Plan to understand how they might impact equality.

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