GM Primary Care Summit 2024 addresses improvements to primary care


Event hailed a success as primary care encouraged to collaborate and ‘get radical’ to ensure credibility.

Around 300 delegates gathered to discuss the future of primary care at the Greater Manchester Primary Care Summit 2024 held on Thursday 21 March.

Colleagues from community pharmacy, dentistry, general practice and optometry joined representatives from the wider system and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) to learn more about the Greater Manchester Primary Care Blueprint and discover how they can work collaboratively to improve health and care for everyone.

Despite the gravitas of the occasion, the event generated a friendly and intimate atmosphere, with welcome speeches taking the form of an ‘informal conversation’ with those present.

Instead of a formal seated conference, delegates were invited to join the busy marketplace where a variety of stalls provided information about current best practice, training opportunities and key programmes of work connected to the blueprint.

People remained standing to hear from Luvjit Kandula, the chair of Greater Manchester Primary Care Provider Board (GMPCB), and Mark Fisher, chief executive of NHS Greater Manchester – representing the two organisations responsible for arranging the event.

The ‘hot topic’ for the day – Greater Manchester’s triple deficit – was delivered in conversational form by Tracey Vell, Chief Officer of GMPCB, and Rob Bellingham, Chief Officer for Commissioning and Population Health at NHS GM.

Tracey said: “We’re doing things differently this year; I want us to start by having a conversation. You’ll have heard of the triple deficit facing GM: performance and quality; population health; and financial.

“Primary care doesn’t really have a performance deficit – providers maintain quality and performance, and also deliver population health with limited funding and no financial deficits. Just think what they could do if they weren’t harmed by diluted and restricted funds!

“Well, there’s a fourth deficit and that is credibility. It is our ambition in primary care to help this deficit by creating plans for services delivered in neighbourhoods. We’ve got to look at it as a holistic neighbourhood picture and work collaboratively with our voluntary sector and public sector.

“This is the start of a new age where we begin to get radical and scale up some of the work you’ve all been doing for a few years.”

Rob added: “It is so important that, alongside finance and performance, population health has been identified as part of our triple deficit. The Primary Care Blueprint represents a central plank of our response via its chapters on integrated neighbourhood working, prevention and tackling inequalities.

“NHS Greater Manchester commits to ensuring meaningful involvement of primary care in all of our development work, including the Clinical Services Review process.”

Attendees also received an update on the progress of the blueprint and how year one of the delivery plan would be implemented by the blueprint delivery unit, alongside rolling engagement with the primary care system and the VCSE sector via the Alternative Provider Collaborative.

Edna Robinson, Executive Chair of the Alternative Provider Collaborative, said: “We’re very excited and feel respected that we are now a senior partner in making this make a difference. It was really nice to be asked to run one of the major workshops. It’s been great to see such a diverse range of people who work across primary care. It’s really good for the profession and the system to get together in this kind of way.”

There was also an opportunity to take part in one of four workshops covering the following topics: responding well to conflict; creating better partnerships in primary care; developing leadership – a blueprint for leadership in primary care; and what is the purpose of primary care?

All four workshops proved popular with delegates, opening up valuable debates and opportunities for development.

Responding Well to Conflict

Louise Gatley, Director of Services at Community Pharmacy Greater Manchester, said: “It was amazing! This is what we’ve needed for so long in pharmacy. I just loved it and will be speaking to the GP Excellence team to arrange a further discussion about how we can make the training happen for pharmacy.”

Creating better partnerships in primary care

Natalie Moorfield, a digital facilitator in Bolton, said: “It was really interesting. A lot of our role now is about working with other partners to get our job done. It opened our eyes to different things we need to do and think about when linking in with other people.”

What’s the purpose of primary care?

Mike Evans, clinical director for Cheadle PCN, Stockport said: “It was good to network with people and it was good to hear people’s challenges and how they thought the blueprint would be translated into what we’re actually doing on the ground. We’ve all got a similar idea of how we can make things better. I think people were quite positive about what they can do but also realistic.”

Developing leadership – a blueprint for leadership in primary care

Julie Dowling-Doyle, primary care manager for Rochdale Health Alliance, said: “I thought it was really good. There were a lot of people speaking up on resilience and on sharing good practice, so I think everybody got a lot out of it. There were a lot of good leaders in there but it’s about retaining it. And how do we develop that – how do we find the time to develop that?”

The event took place on Thursday 21 March, 2024 at The Village Hotel Ashton and was divided into a morning and afternoon session, with the agenda repeated.

To read more about the summit and the blueprint, visit our GM Primary Care Blueprint page on the website.