A government health minister visited Manchester on Friday 11 March to see the city’s innovative seven day GP service in action.

The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for General Practice, visited a GP hub at the University Hospital of South Manchester in Wythenshawe. The GP hub aims to reduce pressure on A&E by providing primary care services in a hospital setting.

Based next door to the hospital’s busy A& E department, it is one of 14 GP hubs that provide patients with access to a GP at evenings and on weekends, seven days a week.

Mr Burt was taken on a tour of the hospital hub where he met with primary care reception staff and the on-duty GP to see the service working first hand.

He learned how the hub is enabling the emergency department to book appointments with the onsite GP for patients who attend A&E with minor issues that can be better dealt with by primary care.

Mr Burt, Minister for General Practice, said: “It is fantastic to see the excellent work being done by GPs in Manchester. Patients want a safer, seven day NHS and that means evening and weekend appointments as well as video and telephone consultations. The GPs I met here are already leading the way in this and by 2020 everyone across the country will be able to benefit from these improved services.”

The Minister began his day with a visit to Five Oaks Family Practice in Beswick to meet Dr Sohail Munshi, local GP and Chair of The Manchester Primary Care Partnership, a unique tri-federation that is delivering the seven day GP service on behalf of Manchester’s three clinical commissioning groups.

Mr Burt found out more about the £5.4m scheme, which is funded by the Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund. Serving some 600,000 patients, it is the biggest seven day GP access scheme currently underway in the country.

Dr Munshi said: “It was an honour to welcome the Minister to Manchester and demonstrate to him how our pioneering seven day service is benefitting patients across the city. Feedback about the service from patients and staff has been very positive and it was great to be able to share some of our vision, successes and also challenges with the Minister. We hope to build on this work to ensure the city of Manchester is a place where healthcare is accessible, responsive and of the highest quality.”

A spokesperson for Manchester’s Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “The seven-day GP access is a vital part of a broader vision for the next five years – to provide a wider range of services in local areas, so that more people are cared for outside of hospital and closer to where they live. This development will see more integration between health and social teams in the community, as we work towards creating a healthier Manchester.”

Manchester’s seven day scheme forms part of the national drive to improve access to general practice. By 2020, the government expects every patient in the country to be able to use GP services seven days a week.