Blog - Making progress

Sohail Munshi.jpg

Read Manchester Local Care Organisation chief medical officer Sohail Munshi's blog on developments at MLCO over the last two months and some of the early progress on new ways of working.

May was a challenging month with the anniversary of the Arena bombing but it yet again reminded me of the resilience of Manchester as a city and Greater Manchester as a region. The people of this city certainly deserve the best. That is one of our key motivations in helping create vibrant, person centred Local Care Organisation that improves health and wellbeing in our communities.

We’re only 60 days as MLCO but our work is already starting to come together at a neighbourhood level in terms of GP input. We can now look forward to joining up with the great work being done by the neighbourhood teams at Manchester City Council. Together we can jointly address the social and health determinants that lead to poor outcomes for people.

Social factors and health factors are usually inextricably intertwined

I don’t see this as an either or. Whilst the social determinants of health play the biggest role in terms of determining outcomes, I know as a grass roots GP that social factors and health factors are usually inextricably intertwined. Indeed, separating out the different influencing factors affecting us is one of the most important skills of any good doctor. A good GP is part of the neighbourhood they serve. This was something explained to me in my first week as a GP at Five Oaks practice when my practice manager told me ‘you don’t find Beswick, it finds you and glues you in’. It makes sense now!

Looking forward, I’m hoping collaboration will be the theme for the coming year. As the NHS approaches the grand age of 70 it’s a great time to reflect and think again how we work together. That means linking with people, patients, communities, health and social care professionals, police, fire, ambulance, housing, schools, volunteers and many others to improve lives. Doing that across the city is a core part of what makes MLCO different.

As an example, I was recently connected to a tremendous local charity called FareShare ( by a commissioning colleague (Dr Ruth Bromley). Hopefully by working together we can start to involve schools and primary care colleagues to jointly address the pressing issues of both food poverty and childhood obesity. These are the things that will make a big difference to health and are a significant early need as part of our early years’ prevention agenda.

As I said earlier, we’re only 60 days in and as an organisation we’re growing and learning day by day. It will take time to build trust and change structures to co-design the movement of health and care closer to people’s lives; but we must and we will seize this opportunity.

We’re already starting to see some evidence of the impact that new ways of working can have. I’ve recently seen some early data from the High Impact Primary Care work in the north of the city and it is really encouraging. It shows reductions in GP contacts, hospital admissions, calls to NHS 111 and A&E attendances amongst the people it has been designed to support. This really shows the difference that working together and focusing on the needs of individuals can have amongst some of the most vulnerable people in the city. It’s a fantastic starting point in meeting that aim of making sure the people of Manchester have the very best.