Manchester GP Dr Ivan Benett is comfortable being the most prominent GP proponent of seven-day access.
And despite some (often quite personal) criticism in GP circles, he has – to some extent – been vindicated this year, after a recent evaluation showed a 3% decrease overall in A&E attendance and confirmation the scheme would be renewed and extended in Manchester.
And the Prime Minister’s favourite CCG has even managed to win over one of his most prominent critics in the region – Manchester LMCs honorary secretary Dr Tracey Vell.
But he stresses he has not done all this alone, highlighting the work of the team at NHS Central Manchester CCG, of which he is clinical director. ‘I am most proud that we have introduced, had evaluated and shown the value and sustainability of seven-day opening of general practice. This is now being rolled out to all CCGs in Greater Manchester,’ he says.
One gets the sense Dr Benett relishes a challenge, and over the next year he will continue with major changes to the role of primary care in Manchester. All of which will, no doubt, be watched with interest in Whitehall.
He will lead a programme to introduce standards of primary care for Manchester and take forward the Manchester ‘Healthier Together’ project to redesign services. He is also working to redistribute local resources back into primary care.
He will also continue his work on the NICE Quality Standards Advisory Group and the NHS England Primary Care Patient Safety Group.