Primary care surge capacity for winter


Primary care providers across all four disciplines will be able to deliver additional capacity due to a number of Greater Manchester primary care surge schemes for the winter period. This will be in addition to capacity already in place in each of our Greater Manchester localities.

A total of £2 million will be divided across several schemes aimed at meeting demand and pressures typically prevalent during the winter period.

A total of £2 million is being invested in primary care to meet the demands of the winter period up to March 2024.

Plans aim to meet the needs of the NHSE Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC) Recovery Delivery Plan, which requires a whole system approach and co-ordination of integrated care to ensure patients receive the right care, with the right clinician, at the right time.

Most of the funding will support the setting up of GP-led surge hubs in each locality in Greater Manchester. They will provide additional capacity between December and March, in response to peaks in pressure and demand as highlighted by the primary care sitrep (also known as the GM Primary Care Pulse Check) and other indicators.

Hubs will complement and work alongside existing arrangements, according to the needs of each locality and its population.

In addition to the GP surge hubs, funding has also been allocated to community pharmacy for the temporary expansion of the GM Minor Ailment Service (GM MAS) to include more eligible people.

The Minor Ailment Service enables GP practices to refer patients to their local community pharmacy for a consultation on a range of minor ailments, such as allergies, pain, diarrhoea, head lice and many more.

The GM MAS offer will be commissioned from all pharmacies in Bolton and Oldham, to all patients in receipt of free prescriptions. Patient eligibility will be extended to all patients in receipt of free prescriptions in Bury, Manchester, Rochdale, Trafford, and Wigan.

Salford, Stockport, and Tameside already have extended patient eligibility, so there will be no change to the current commissioned service.

In addition, extra funding will enable around 30 pharmacies to provide increased cover during the Christmas/New Year 2023 period and Easter 2024.

Funding directed to optometry services will allow an additional 200-250 patients per month to access the Community Urgent Eyecare (CUES) Telemedicine Service – for patients needing urgent assessment and treatment of sudden eye symptoms.

Finally, in dentistry the Dental Quality Scheme – which was introduced in June 2023 – will continue to ensure patients have an improved experience of access to a dentist. Furthermore, the Child Friendly Dental Practice (CFDP) Scheme will be expanded to ensure all 10 localities benefit from the support it provides to specialist community services for children; reducing referrals and pressures into secondary care.