Building on the original Greater Manchester primary care strategy, this refreshed version, launched September 2016, provides a roadmap for key reforms to our primary care system.

Infographic: what is primary care

Infographic: setting the scene in Greater Manchester

New models of care

Key shifts include new ways of working to put people at the heart of their own care, closer to where they live and out of hospital as much as possible. This will see the roll-out of more local care organisations in each part of Greater Manchester. These organisations will bring health and social care teams together along with other community and voluntary networks. Stockport and Manchester will be early adopters of these new multi-speciality community provider models of care

Infographic: putting people in control of their own health and care

Setting the standards

A bespoke set of standards that recognise the key role that GPs play in transforming people’s lives have also been launched. The new GP standards, designed to help with consistent high quality care, will be adopted according to the needs of each area by 2017. They are:

  • Improving access to a GP
  • Improving outcomes for patients with mental illness
  • Improving cancer survival rates and earlier diagnosis
  • Ensuring a proactive approach to health improvement and early detection
  • Improving the health and wellbeing of carers
  • Improving outcomes for people with long-term conditions
  • Promoting medication checks
  • Improving outcomes around childhood asthma
  • Proactive disease management

Infographic: setting the standards for primary care in Greater Manchester

What’s changed already in Greater Manchester?

  • The commitment to seven-day GP access – by December 2015 there were 35 primary care locations offering 7-day access across Greater Manchester;
  • A six-point plan for more use of community pharmacies, particularly around medicines-related issues;
  • Preventative dental care – which has cut average waiting times for a child’s first dental assessment to 30 days;
  • Reducing the risk of sight loss – so that optometrists can manage more minor eye conditions in the community.

Mental health

Currently people with chronic mental health illnesses in Greater Manchester are likely to die 15 years earlier than people in other areas. It is also understood that patients with mental illness, who have other chronic (long-term) conditions like diabetes and asthma, have better results when the right psychological support is built into physical care plans.

As part of the strategy, more focus will also be placed on identifying dementia patients earlier, so that they and their carers can be better supported to live well and manage their condition. By 2021 it is estimated that there will be nearly 35,000 people living with dementia. Other developments will also build on the pilot work of the Greater Manchester Pharmacy Local Professional Network in developing a ‘dementia friendly practice’ checklist.

Infographic: improved outcomes for people with mental health needs

Best use of professional services

The plans include making more use of community pharmacists to help patients look after themselves and also with a wider roll-out of the minor ailments service – where pharmacies with consultation rooms can treat and prescribe for conditions such as hay fever, allergies, headaches, and mild eczema. No appointment is needed to see the pharmacist and this should contribute to fewer people needing time off work to see their doctor.

Clinical pharmacists in Greater Manchester have already shown how they can reduce the burden on GPs. Pilot sites run through Oldham, Bury and South Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups have demonstrated how a pharmacist based in a GP practice can help with day-to-day medicine issues for patients.

Research and Innovation

This will build on the work of Health Innovation Manchester – launched in September 2015  as a partnership between healthcare research, academia and industry. It will also build on the work of the Academic Health Science Network so that there is acceleration between a discovery and the implementation of the results for patients.

There will be a  focus on using digital technology, so records can be shared across care providers, with patient consent – reducing the need for patients to re-tell their story or history.

Infographic: research and innovation


Lord Peter Smith, chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Strategic Partnership Board, said: “All these ideas work on – and accept – that improvements are most likely to be successful when they are led by the people who live here, because they can see the reasons for change and the benefits”.

“In particular, thousands of people are currently treated in hospital when their needs could be better met in the community; care isn’t always joined up between teams and it is not always of consistent quality.”

Dr Tracey Vell, Associate Lead in Primary and Community care, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “ As GPs we have united with out primary care colleagues, social care colleagues and commissioners to shape the future of care for our population. In itself this collaboration is a huge task which now allows us to deliver better care to our communities without duplication or organisational barriers.”

Jon Rouse, chief officer for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “There are examples of good practice all over Greater Manchester. What we want to do now is learn from that and spread the results across the whole of Greater Manchester so that we can guarantee quality outcomes for patients”.

Strategy in a nutshell