Seven day GP access given full roll-out

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WIGANERS will have continued access to seven-day primary care as it is rolled out to the rest of the region, health bosses have said.

The extension has been described as the first milestone in the devolution package, which will see the region gain full control of the £6bn health and social care budget.

Our main aim now is to ensure that we put people and place ahead of any organisational priorities in the region

Sir Howard Bernstein

Wigan borough was one of the areas used as a first wave for the new seven-day access scheme earlier this year, using £2.5m from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.

The increased rollout will mean the number of residents covered by the scheme will increase from 500,000 to 1.1m.

Ian Williamson, chief officer for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Devolution, said: “We now have a tremendous opportunity to build on established good practice and learning in Greater Manchester, so that we can close the health inequalities gap between our region and the rest of the UK. Devolution hasn’t created these new seven-day systems of working – but it can help to propel those results quicker across Greater Manchester, through a cemented regional partnership, increased freedoms and flexibilities to make local decisions – and less bureaucratic impediments.”

Sir Howard Bernstein, joint chair of the GM Health and Social Care Devolution Programme Board, said: “Seven-day access has the potential to transform health outcomes for the region – and it’s also part of wider measures to help take the pressure off hospitals.

“Our main aim now is to ensure that we put people and place ahead of any organisational priorities in the region. This will be complemented by the efforts and dedication of collective action based on reforming public services so that we can focus on early, proactive help for the people of Greater Manchester.”

Through the scheme, borough residents will continue to have same day access to primary care services, supported by diagnostic tests, seven days a week.

Speaking in March when the seven-day access was rolled out in Wigan, Dr Tim Dalton, chair of NHS Wigan borough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This innovative collaboration, supported by exciting use of technology, will continue to place Wigan patients at the heart of how quality care is delivered.

“It is also worth noting that this announcement marks a key step towards delivery of one of the core pledges of the recent consultation about how care delivery could evolve and improve across the borough.”