Manchester GPs launch England's biggest seven-day service

Thousands of extra evening and weekend appointments have been made available in Manchester after a city-wide GP federation launched the biggest seven-day service in the country.

Primary care minister Alistair Burt hailed as ‘great news’ the launch of the new service which will see the city’s 91 practices working through the Manchester Primary Care Partnership (MPCP) federation to provide 8am to 8pm, seven-day GP services for 600,000 people.

The £5.4m service is funded by the prime minister’s GP Access Fund, formerly the Challenge Fund.

An advertising campaign informing patients of the new services will run until March.

Seven-day GP services

NHS commissioners said in June that they intend to roll out seven-day GP services across Greater Manchester by the end of 2016, covering 2.8m people, as part of the region’s devolution plans.

Existing seven-day access schemes already serve 500,000 people across the city. Another 1.1m people were already planned to be covered through an £8m scheme set up under the prime minister's Challenge Fund.

Greater Manchester demonstrator sites that trialled seven-day access in Manchester, Bury, Heywood and Middleton showed a 3% reduction in total A&E activity compared with the rest of Greater Manchester.

The new scheme will provide seven-day and evening appointments for any patient registered at a Manchester practice at one of 15 GP hubs at surgeries and hospitals across the city.

MPCP federation chairman and local GP Dr Sohail Munshi said: ‘School age children, working families and carers are among those who will benefit greatly from being able to see a GP or nurse in the evenings and at weekends. We're proud to be able to provide this service for our patients in Manchester.’

GP access

Mr Burt said: ‘People have no control over when they become ill and in the midst of busy lives with increasing demands for our attention, it’s hardly surprising that more than four in five people think GP surgeries should offer appointments seven-days a week.

‘That’s why it’s great news that Manchester is launching the biggest seven-day GP access scheme in the country with 600,000 people - 10 times the capacity of Manchester City’s stadium - being offered evening and weekend appointments.’

Chairman of Central Manchester CCG Dr Mike Eeckelears added: ‘These extra appointments have been designed to bring flexibility to both our patients and doctors. We will be measuring outcomes by evaluating patient and staff satisfaction – and the role the service plays within broader measures to give people more opportunities to look after their health.’

Earlier this month GPonline revealed that government and NHS England officials are preparing to reveal a further roll out of seven-day services to meet ministers' demands that a fifth of the population have extended access by 2017.

The DH and NHS England will set out how they intend to take forward that commitment through a combination of investment, workforce measures, measures to control workload and measures to support innovation.

NHS England officials are also developing a new voluntary contract first announced by the prime minister in October, which will support the multidisciplinary community provider (MCP) new model of care to provide seven-day GP services.

GPs in Manchester are set to become the first to be offered the MCP contract, which will replace individual GMS or PMS contracts held by practices with a population-based arrangement.

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