NHS Greater Manchester is launching an ambitious five-year plan to improve access to primary care services.

  • New blueprint wants to reduce the number of people struggling to contact their GP practice and deliver more same day appointments where urgent.
  • 1,600 staff already recruited into additional roles in general practice providing easier access to services.
  • Ambition to improve access to dentists and community urgent eye care services.
  • Pharmacists to receive national funding to help with a broader range of conditions.
  • Commitment to reduce health inequalities.

About the Greater Manchester Primary Care Blueprint

NHS Greater Manchester is launching an ambitious five-year plan to improve access to primary care services.

1,800 primary care services provide the first point of contact for patients in Greater Manchester, acting as the ‘front door’ of the NHS – and include GPs, community pharmacies, dentists, and optometry providers.

Building on our Big Conversation which took place with more than 3, 000 people last year, the plan is a response to what matters to people living in Greater Manchester.

The plan aims to tackle key issues experienced and shared by the public, as well as supporting a 22, 000 strong workforce to provide the right care at the right time.

Additional roles have been recruited to in general practice to work alongside GPs and nurses to ensure patients receive the care they need as quickly as possible. This helps to free up GP appointments for people with long-term conditions or who have a serious or complex health concern.

Rob Bellingham, director of primary care, NHS Greater Manchester said:

“Most people use the NHS through primary care services. Making sure that people can see or speak to GPs, dentists, pharmacists, and optometrists in a timely and easy way is a top priority for us.

“Our primary care blueprint will help us respond to both a growing and ageing population and an increase in demand for our care. Our plans acknowledge where we need to make changes that help people look after their own health and support them to get advice and care more quickly.

“Additional roles in general practice help to give people more meaningful choice when accessing care. Ensuring everyone can access the care they need when they need it is crucial for the public to have confidence that the NHS will be there for them.

“This plan aims to address some of the immediate pressures facing our workforce and make primary care a more attractive place to work.”

NHS Greater Manchester wants to:

  • Ensure same-day urgent access to general practice where there is an urgent need.
  • Tackle the “8am rush” in general practice by investing in better phone and digital systems. Simplify online access and request processes encouraging more use of the NHS App to book appointments.
  • Make it easier to access NHS dentistry and deliver schemes to improve the oral health of our population.
  • Ensure people can access the Community Urgent Eye Care service and a range of initiatives designed to improve and enhance eye care.
  • Develop pharmacy services to support prevention, minor illnesses and reduce health inequalities.
  • Support people who do not engage in mainstream healthcare services to help them get appropriate care.
  • Improve the diagnosis and management of long-term health conditions.
  • Increase vaccination uptake, focusing on Covid-19, flu, pneumonia, and childhood vaccinations.

Luvjit Kandula, chair, Greater Manchester Primary Care Provider Board 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.

“Demand for NHS services continues to rise and it’s vital we shape our services to meet this growth and adapt our workforce with different roles to meet people’s needs.

“This plan reflects both what many people have told us they want to see from their NHS and what professionals have told us needs to change. 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.”

Data on number of appointments:

In the last year (August 2022 to September 2023), the total number of GP appointments in Greater Manchester, including face-to-face, home, virtual and telephone appointments was 16,146,641.

Over 45, 000 people visit a pharmacist each week for help and advice, with 65, 000 consultations taking place.

185, 921 more children have been seen by an NHS dentist in Greater Manchester in the last year as well as an additional 41, 850 adults.

Over 743, 536 NHS eyesight tests were undertaken in the last year (April 2022 to March 2023).

People can read the full plan which has been developed jointly by NHS Greater Manchester and the Primary Care Provider Board here; and keep up to date with its progress on this website and social media channels.

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