Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) works in partnership with healthcare commissioners, healthcare providers, local authorities and others, to enable excellence in the commissioning and delivery of healthcare services.

We pride ourselves on providing clients with access to an unparalleled portfolio of tailored services, which encompass specialist clinical support, healthcare commissioning and business support services. GMCSU is at the forefront of innovation and best practice. We are also committed to continually identifying, implementing and driving innovation in health. This is embedded within all the services we deliver. Motivated by the desire to help clients systematically drive improvement across their local healthcare economies and deliver tangible benefits for communities, we see ourselves as an expert and trusted partner, with shared values and common goals. This perspective, coupled with our agile and flexible approach, enables us to provide:

  • Services designed with our clients, built on detailed insight and focused on results
  • Locally delivered services which benefit from our economies of scale
  • A high degree of resilience at costs that are often unachievable when delivering services in-house
  • The ability to respond rapidly and effectively to the changing needs of our clients and their populations.

We have brought together more than 500 talented individuals with experience and expertise gained across the NHS, government and private sector organisations. This background gives us a unique understanding and ability to navigate the constraints and challenges facing our clients and the wider health economy. These range from finite resources and addressing health inequalities, to managing ever increasing demand and the growing expectations of patients and the public. We expect a lot from our talented teams and that includes living our values of integrity, teamwork and accomplishment. We reflect this in our work and our relationships, both with our clients and within our teams. We also believe it’s important to reinvest in the communities where we and our clients work and are an organisation which is committed to being socially responsible.

From October 1, 2014, GMCSU will become one organisation with Cheshire and Merseyside Commissioning Support Unit. The new organisation will take the strengths and learning from each CSU, to create an organisation that provides high-quality services designed around the needs of our clients. Covering a population of 5.1 million people, with a combined income of more than £80m, our new organisation is set to hold one of the largest portfolio of support services in the country.

At GMCSU, we believe that our strength lies in the people who work for us, and we aim to ensure development and opportunity, and make sure this is a great place to work. For our latest vacancies, click here.

GMCSU is led by a team of directors, providing a wide range of experience, knowledge and leadership from the public and private sectors, and a particular background in healthcare. To contact any of our directors, fill in our contact form and select General Enquiries.

Leigh Griffin, Managing Director

Leigh has led GMCSU since October 2012, having previously worked as a PCT Chief Executive in the North West and the West Midlands. A passionate advocate of collaborative commissioning and system-wide improvement, he is committed to the need to co-design and deliver services tailored to local needs.

Cathy Gritzner, Commercial Director

Cathy joined GMCSU in May 2013. She has extensive experience in both the private and public sector, having worked for ATOS and KPMG in England and the Middle East. Cathy joined the CSU from her role as Chief Officer at Herefordshire CCG guiding them through a challenging year and the authorisation process. Prior to this role she worked in the North West as Director of Commissioning at NHS Wirral, before helping to establish Cheshire, Wirral and Warrington CSU.

Seamus McGirr, Director of Clinical Development

Seamus is a registered nurse, whose previous roles include Director of Nursing and Director of Performance. His speciality expertise and academic interest is in urgent care, and he leads the North West Utilisation Management team which provides services across the north west, Northern Ireland, for and on behalf of NHS England (IMAS) and CCGs and Trusts across the country. Seamus’s responsibilities in the CSU include leading our clinical teams, developing our clinical commissioning support and, currently, providing the director leadership for contracting and performance. He is a familiar speaker at national and local conferences. He lives in Stockport and is married to a local GP.

Jo Purcell, Partnerships Director

Jo has a background in commissioning, partnership working and service redesign. Jo has been a director for over 10 years with commissioning organisations and has been responsible for developing partnerships across the health and social care system, commissioning new service models and, more recently, supporting the development of commissioning support across Greater Manchester.

In order to maximise our reach locally, regionally and nationally, GMCSU is always seeking to establish partnerships with appropriate organisations in all sectors. Opportunities range from individual, short-term, projects of mutual benefit, to ongoing corporate partnering.

For more information, and to discuss potential partnership working, fill in our contact form and select Partnership Working.

Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) works in partnership with healthcare commissioners, healthcare providers, local authorities and others, to enable excellence in the commissioning and delivery of healthcare services. Currently, our main clients are the 12 clinical commissioning groups in Greater Manchester.

Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group

Bury Clinical Commissioning Group

Heywood Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group

Central, North and South Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups

Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group

Salford Clinical Commissioning Group

Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group

Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group

Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group

Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group

Medicines Management

"This experienced team has built up good working relationships, they are developing policies across the board, which are adopted locally and are utilised by primary care. This enables local teams to concentrate on practice relationships and more patient focused work. Improved liaison across the interface of primary and secondary care is facilitated, while the CSU staff also work with the pharmaceutical industry to our benefit."

Dr Kath Sutton, Chair, Trafford CCG

Across the country, eight per cent of admissions to hospitals are directly related to problems with medicines and adverse effects. Two thirds are preventable.

At the moment, four neighbouring localities can have four different pathways for the same condition, leading to inequalities in treatment and outcomes for patients based solely on where they live. GMCSU’s Medicines Management works with clients to optimise the use of medicines across the health economy to raise standards and care quality, while making the best use of resources.

In doing this, our team of pharmacists, technician and administrative staff facilitate the work of the Greater Manchester Medicines Management Group (GMMMG), an influential organisation made up of the region’s commissioners and providers. The GMMMG hold live information and data on their website, which can be found via this link.

Why choose GMCSU for medicines management?

The strength of GMCSU’s Medicines Management service lies in its close ties to GMMMG. Set up in 2004, the group ensures that prescribing is standardised across the region, with a well-respected formulary that offers guidance on the cost effective use of medicines. Our service facilitates the work of GMMMG, with added value from the knowledge and experience within our team. The result is quality guidance that provides better value for the NHS and an improved service for the patient.

Another of the key benefits we offer clients is to represent their interests with strategic clinical networks, and reduce the number of meetings they need to attend with pharmaceutical representatives. This saves clients time and money, allows them to focus on other priorities with the confidence that we will assess potential new medicines rigorously. This is one way in which GMCSU’s Medicines Management service is specifically designed to work with all four aspects of QIPP – a national challenge for health commissioners.

All professional members of the team are registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council. This infers professional accountability, CPD, forefront of best practice with access to training opportunities.

What we do

Our work is split into three broad areas:

  • Our unique strategic medicines management offer takes a regional view in a highly productive way. It goes beyond simple locality support, thanks to our central model and our strong relationships across the region. The premise of this offer is to set standard medicines pathways to reduce the number and cost of drugs – reducing inequalities within and between localities, and promoting economies of scale. This work also looks to break new ground – such as judging the appropriateness of high-cost drugs in hospitals – in a way that local teams working without a strategic overview may find impossible.
  • We offer local, on-the-ground, operational teams. These teams provide: leadership support; health economy working; governance; a prescribing query service and practice-based support.
  • The third strand of our work is specifically aimed at local authorities, all of whom have a statutory duty to have up-to-date pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNA) as well as a requirement to make available patient group directions (PGD) to support commissioned services. We also provide access, to all departments within the local authority, to medicines management advice and support. We manage the process of compiling and writing the PNA in line with specific legislation and provide an understanding of the pharmacy contract to support this. For PGDs we manage the development and review of these legal documents and ensure that they meet with current legislation and guidance, offering clinical support in their use across the local authority’s area. This is offered as an ongoing contract, which ensures that the documents are reviewed regularly.

How we do it

GMCSU’s Medicines Management team works closely with a number of partner organisations, including academic institutions, clinical networks, and the GMMMG. This allows us to offer a truly strategic, forward-thinking service. In order to achieve maximum economies of scale for our clients, and to promote shared learning and standard approaches, our strategic offer is delivered from a central team. However, clients are regularly visited on a one-to-one basis.

Our work can go hand-in-hand with GMCSU’s Effective Use of Resources service, as we triage individual funding requests that relate to medicines. We also work closely with GMCSU’s Service Redesign team – ensuring any impact on prescribing as a result of service change is identified and mitigated – and the Total Provider Management team in dealing with pharmacy contractors and contract re-negotiation.

Head of service

Andrew White is Head of Medicines Management at GMCSU. He leads the operational aspects of the Greater Manchester Medicines Management Group (GMMMG), which include the GM joint formulary, new therapies, and shared care recommendations for the 12 CCGs and 13 providers across the regional population of 2.8 million.

He was previously Head of Medicines Management, Assistant Chief Executive and Clinical Effectiveness Pharmacist at Bolton PCT from 2003 to 2012, and a community pharmacist in North Manchester and central Scotland for 10 years prior to joining the NHS.

To contact Andrew, or any of the Medicines Management team fill in our contact form and select Medicines Management.

Communications, Engagement and Marketing

"The members of the team I’ve worked with are a credit to the profession, an absolutely excellent service."

Steve Allinson, Chief Operating Officer, Tameside and Glossop CCG

For the NHS, local government, or any organisation that has those values at heart, reaching out and engaging with communities and stakeholders is vital. At GMCSU we understand this. Our Communications, Engagement and Marketing team offer high-quality, cost-effective strategy and delivery to build, maintain and protect your reputation.

Whether your aim is to gain public buy-in to plans, to encourage involvement services development, or to protect you reputation during challenging times, we can advise you on the right approach to get results. We do this using our in-depth knowledge and experience of working in, and for, the NHS and wider public sector, and the creativity, efficiency and skills held within our team.

Why choose GMCSU for communications, engagement and marketing?

We deliver our service to suit each client’s needs. This could be through advice and guidance, working with you on a project basis, or embedding members of our team within your organisation. Thanks to the range of services we offer and skills we possess, the communications, engagement and marketing support our clients receive is truly bespoke.

As team of 21 specialists with a huge amount of experience in the NHS, public, private, voluntary and third sector, we make the most of our people. We have experts in strategy development, media, internal communications, public engagement, marketing, digital communications, issues and crisis management, branding and identity development and other areas. We all draw on each other’s areas of interest and expertise and are committed to colleague training and development.

All our colleagues are either members, or working towards membership of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations or Chartered Institute of Marketing, meaning we meet accredited standards within the industry.

What we do

GMCSU’s Communications, Engagement and Marketing team offers clients a wide array of specialised activity, including:

  • Strategic communications and marketing: A comprehensive strategy to change, build or maintain your reputation, from initial stakeholder assessment to a developing a programme of work to manage vital relationships.
  • Media services: Strategic media advice, queries handling, generating positive news stories and crisis management. We can also provide a service monitoring your organisation in the press, online, and in broadcast and social media.
  • Digital communications: Managing your profile using every digital channel you choose. Fusing creativity and technical knowhow, we identify key topics to manage websites, blogs and online communities and regularly update and maintain your social media platforms.
  • Campaigns and social marketing: We produce creative and bespoke campaigns to not only get people talking about your campaign, but engaging with it too. Our campaigns team use skills across the full range of communications and engagement to deliver top results.
  • Public and stakeholder engagement: With experience in carrying out high-profile and controversial public consultations, as well as day-to-day community activity, we work with clients to develop, and implement, comprehensive engagement strategies.
  • Internal communications: We develop a positive culture in your organisation, working with clients to understanding their colleagues’ needs, and creating communications that engage and motivate the workforce.

Alongside these key areas of communications and engagement, communications offer additional support in: media training; auditing your communications; graphic design, copy writing and printing; corporate identity development and media buying.

How we do it

Providing both strategic and operational support, clients taking up all aspects of our Communications Engagement and Marketing service benefit from a combination of embedded staff and centrally-based expertise. As a result, resilience and a wide skillset are guaranteed from a whole team approach, while deep local relationships are built from a regular point of contact.

One of the strengths of the Communications, Engagement and Marketing service is the way it combines with other teams within GMCSU. For instance, clients also taking advantage of GMCSU’s Patient Services offer see a joined up approach to freedom of information requests from the media. Similarly, clients working with our Service Redesign team will have access to our expertise in assessing whether public consultation is necessary or advisable. We can also deliver this.

Head of service

Claire Norman is the Head of Communications, Engagement and Marketing at GMCSU. A highly experienced communications professional, Claire has built and led the strategic communications, engagement and marketing functions in national and regional organisations. She has worked in the NHS and local government, as well as having more than five years’ experience as a print journalist.

Her expertise encompasses the range of communications, engagement and marketing skills, with particular specialisms in strategy development, reputation management, crisis and issues management, stakeholder engagement, media and social media strategy and implementation, internal communications and brand and corporate identity development.

To contact Claire, or any of the Communications, Engagement and Marketing team, fill in our contact form and select Communications, Engagement and Marketing.

Find out more

Further information about GMCSU's Communications, Engagement and Marketing team is available to download here.


Emergency preparedness is a statutory duty for the NHS and it is vital that all NHS organisations are fully prepared for and able to respond to unforeseen emergencies and incidents.

Following the government’s reforms of the health service in April 2013, a programme of work within the NHS referred to as emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR) is being progressed. The recent changes to the NHS have meant new arrangements for health EPRR with local commissioners now having responsibility for oversight of resilience for their health economy.

GMCSU’s Resilience service enables clients to meet their obligations under the EPRR programme of work and offers a wealth of experience within the field of emergency planning. We ensure that our clients address all relevant NHS England Core Standards for EPRR and we support clients to be well prepared to meet the challenges associated with responding to disruptions, major incidents and emergencies.

We work across a wide footprint and our well-established relationships with colleagues from the emergency services and other public sector organisations means we have strong links with partners agencies involved in civil contingencies.

Why choose GMCSU for resilience?

Working across and beyond local boundaries, GMCSU’s Resilience Team offers clients a high level of expertise and a consistency of approach to EPRR. This is not only of benefit to individual localities, but also to police, fire and ambulance services. We ensure the plans of our clients dovetail with those of first responders and that their plans accurately reflect the role of our clients, thereby avoiding duplication of effort.

As well as improving resilience planning within local health economies, we also liaise with wider health and multi-agency partners to enhance county and regional resilience planning.  In doing so, we offer our clients effective channels of communication and greater consistency for EPRR arrangements. With extensive experience of emergency planning, both in health and the wider public sector, we offer a comprehensive and thorough resilience service with strong links to key partners. In addition, Resilience Team members hold nationally-recognised professional qualifications in emergency planning including qualification specific to the health sector.

What we do

Our work comprises a combination of strategic and tactical support that is tailored to fit the client’s local context. We support our clients with the full cycle of emergency planning activity, from developing plans and briefing relevant staff on them to devising and delivering training and exercising activities to validate the plans. Specific support to our clients includes:

  • We develop templates and guides for commissioners that support them in their role of coordinating their health economy in the event of an emergency or significant incident.
  • We act as a conduit for national and regional EPRR horizon scanning and communications, giving guidance to our clients on what these mean for them.
  • Members of GMCSU’s Resilience Team provide administrative support and advice to Chairs of important local groups for health EPRR
  • We work closely with Accountable Emergency Officers to ensure they understand and are kept informed of progress with NHS England EPRR Core Standards
  • We develop and deliver bespoke briefing and training to our clients on a range of EPRR matters

How we do it

Clients taking GMCSU’s Resilience service benefit from an experienced primary point of contact, while also gaining access to an experienced team that can step in if and when the need arises. As well as client specific leads, we also have nominated leads for specialist areas – making full use of their experience from a range of sectors. In order to maximise efficiency and economies of scale, we work from a central office. However, we know that understanding local arrangements and context is vital, so we visit clients regularly to enhance our working relationship.

The work of GMCSU’s Resilience Team can be closely linked to our Communications, Engagement and Marketing service, allowing for comprehensive and targeted warning and informing messages in times of emergency. We also work closely with GMCSU’s Total Provider Management and Utilisation Management teams during times of pressure on the care system. Their knowledge of the system’s pressures allows us to identify any potential escalations that require an incident response approach.

Head of service

Mark Carroll is the Head of Patient Services and Resilience at GMCSU. Chair of the North West PALS and Complaints network, Mark has extensive experience in information, advice and advocacy. Following completion of a law degree, Mark worked for the Princess Royal Trust for carers in Liverpool on a major judicial review case centred around residential and nursing home care.

He then moved to the trust’s Manchester centre, establishing the Carers Advocacy Service to support carers looking after relatives with long term illnesses and disabilities access the vital support they need to continue caring. Immediately prior to joining GMCSU in December 2012, Mark worked for Central Manchester Primary Care Trust, managing their PALS and complaints function.

To contact Mark, or any of the Resilience team fill in our contact form and select Resilience.

Total Provider Management



GMCSU’s highly skilled and experienced Total Provider Management (TPM) team work with clients and providers so that appropriate assurances are in place in relation to providers delivering safe, high quality care to patients.

With in-depth experience and knowledge of NHS contracting, performance management and quality assurance mechanisms, we focus on developing strong working relationships with our clients and work closely with them to understand their business and local needs. With a deep  understanding of our client’s priorities, we provide sound and professional advice to develop, support and deliver robust and timely solutions.

Why choose GMCSU for total provider management?

GMCSU’s TPM service manages a high number of contracts across the region’s health economy, ranging from large acute, community and mental health providers to smaller independent sector organisations and enhanced services. Widely acknowledged as complex and highly demanding, Greater Manchester requires the TPM team to provide expert knowledge of local issues, as well us understanding the wider health agenda.

Using our knowledge and skills we will work to build close relationships with commissioners and providers alike, understanding their unique challenges, and focusing on areas that ultimately impact on patients. The structure of the service is designed to meet client requirements and demands. This has included recruiting colleagues with expert knowledge in quality, urgent care, local authority contracts, commercial healthcare and business intelligence.

Due to the volume of contracts and providers TPM manages, we are able to provide a valuable insight on a regional level. As a result, we are able to offer clients real value in looking at best practice across a large footprint. We hold an immense amount of rich data and intelligence which we deploy in providing timely solutions for our clients.

A streamlined flow of information allows us to provide timely intelligence and insight to commissioners and support them in delivery of priority areas, such as QIPP plans. We are committed and determined to work closely with our customers, seeking to protect their interests and needs.

What we do

GMCSU's TPM service covers three broad areas:

  • Quality: ensuring that clinical effectiveness, safety and experience is to the agreed standard in line with national policy and best practice, and working with providers to continuously improve quality standards.
  • Contracting: ensuring that providers are delivering in line with National, Regional and local requirements and standards based on robust and transparent contracts being in place.
  • Performance: ensuring that providers deliver to standards and targets of access and productivity outlined in the NHS Constitution, planning guidance, and agreed contractual terms.

This work is underpinned by activities that impact directly on provider performance, including:

  • Integrated reporting with evidence-based assurances, designed for boards and governing bodies
  • Links and relationship building with third party stakeholders
  • Development of specific governance portfolios including risk registers
  • Bespoke activity reports and dashboards in response to any concerns or queries raised through incidents and monthly contract review

For flexible and agile service delivery, we’ve established a number of service standards and a resource infrastructure aimed at delivering a responsive and professional service while providing consistency for our clients.


How we do it

Taking care of a vast array of contracts, GMCSU’s Total Provider Management team has set up robust working arrangements to ensure consistency. Within the service, there are a number of smaller teams, some focusing on specific large contracts within a location, and others working on a wider family of contracts such as Any Qualified Provider.

Clients that take the full range of services Total Provider Management offer benefit from embedded staff in their location, backed up by additional experienced staff at our central offices. This guarantees the twin benefits of local insight and relationships, and intelligence on a wide footprint.

Additionally, our regional team provides further assurances around our ability to provide flexible resource solutions to clients in a timely manner. They also enhance regional commissioning insight through working closely with GMCSU’s Business Intelligence team.

We work very closely with the business intelligence aspect of GMCSU’s IM&T team to make full use of the information the organisation holds, and with the Finance service to ensure appropriate expenditure. Where providers are identified as not performing to the standards of their contract, and resolution cannot be reached, we can also work with GMCSU’s Service Redesign team. This may involve redesigning a care pathway from a more comprehensive view, with a high level of detail informing the pathway.

Heads of service

Malcolm Philp is GMCSU’s Head of Provider Management (Quality and Performance). His key role is to ensure prominence for quality related issues in contract discussions, meaning that providers are appropriately held to account for the care they deliver. Previously, Malcolm held senior management roles in Manchester, focusing on children’s health, allied health professionals and governance. He has worked as an inspector for The Healthcare Commission and held a number of management posts in the independent sector and other English regions.

Originally qualifying as a chartered physiotherapist in 1983, Malcolm worked in Scotland and New Zealand, specialising in rehabilitation, working in many units and leading the development of alternative care provision for older people.     

Sue Pitt is GMCSU’s Head of Total Provider Management. With previous experience in the retail banking sector, Sue has worked healthcare for the last nine years, in both the public and private sector. Her role at GMCSU is to oversee the contract management and performance for all contracts, with values ranging from thousands of pounds to hundreds of millions of pounds. Her particular expertise is in relationship and performance management.

To contact Malcolm, Sue, or any of the team, fill in our contact form and select Total Provider Management.

Utilisation Management

"I have worked with the Utilisation Management team over several years on the measurement of whole systems. This has been a great collaboration. The team combines high-quality technical ability with a mature appreciation of the purpose, value and the effective use of data."

David G Jones, Deputy Director (London), Social Care Local Government & Care Partnerships, Department of Health

Pressure on care systems has never been greater, and identifying potential issues and delays is vital. GMCSU’s Utilisation Management team works closely with our clients to identify the cause and effect of pressures – and the potential and actual impact on performance these cause. This information is then fed back to clients through a combination of daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly reports, designed to suit your needs.

Although north-west based, the service works both nationally and internationally, meaning that there is a deep understanding of the different pressures that can affect systems, and the impact that these can have.

Why choose GMCSU for utilisation management?

GMCSU’s Utilisation Management team are unique in offering an approach to analysing care systems that has been endorsed by the royal colleges. Our support is also outlined in both Department of Health and NHS Institute guidance. The team is nurse-led, meaning that we have a clinical background. This means that quality is as much a priority for us as ensuring cost-efficient pathways and services, and the outcome is always patient-focused.

With a wealth of analysis and reporting methods, we can offer an approach that is tailored to individual clients. This ensures that the reviews we produce can be of specific benefit to ongoing work or particular service issues within a locality. Our experience and the level of information we provide mean that our service goes beyond data provision, as we work with clients to inform service redesign decisions, improve urgent care systems and forecast future performance.

Although north-west based, the service works both nationally and internationally, meaning that there is a deep understanding of the different pressures that can affect systems, and the impact that these can have.

What we do

The range of services that GMCSU’s Utilisation Management team is able to offer a strategic overview entirely suited to the client’s needs, over an agreed timeframe ranging from a week to several months. We offer:

  • A daily pressure reporting dashboard that can be used to predict and monitor activity and pressure, and set local escalation measures in place. These can be used to establish cause and effect, avoid poor performance and benchmark with neighbouring localities.
  • An online systems analyser that allows acute trusts and commissioners to compare and contrast flows and pressures and predict future pressures.
  • Quarterly scorecards for local authorities that look at whole system efficiency and quality to in terms of admissions, readmission, and delayed transfers of care.
  • Care pathway reviews to identify waste and highlight opportunities to improve care quality. This can inform the appropriate level of resource within the commissioned service and enhance understanding of the effect of pressure on patients.

As well of being fully trained to carry out these services, part of our remit is to offer training to other nurses to allow them to review pathways – an approach that has been accredited by the Royal College of Nursing.

How we do it

Clients working with us benefit from the experience and skills of our eight-strong team – half of whom are nurses – led by a clinical director. However, we know that clients appreciate a regular point of contact, so each client has a dedicated account manager, offering consistency and an in-depth understanding of your specific, local needs and issues.

Providing economies of scale is important to us and to our clients, so we maximise our efficiency with a central team. Having said that, where you require detailed work such as pathway reviews, we come out to meet you and talk you through the analysis.

Our work is closely aligned to GMCSU’s Total Provider Management team, and can be bought as part of that service, as well as a standalone offer. We also work closely with the Service Redesign team, as feedback from our reviews can inform strategic decisions around reconfiguring services.

Head of service

Gill Cooper is the Head of Utilisation Management at GMCSU. A highly experienced professional, for 10 years Gill has been instrumental in building and developing the resource utilisation programme in the North West of England and other areas in the UK. Her clinical expertise has been gained primarily in Emergency Care and GP Practice nursing. As a nurse, an essential element of Gill’s work is to represent the patient perspective across a wide range of services.

To contact Gill, or any of the Utilisation Management team fill in our contact form and select Utilisation Management.

Find out more

Further information about GMCSU's Utilisation Management team is available to download here.

Service Redesign

The NHS has a challenge to become more efficient in an environment of increased demand and constrained funding. To meet this challenge, service provision must be analysed and redesigned where appropriate. Whether this involves major hospital closures or transferring services from outpatients to GP surgeries, it is vital that commissioners and providers understand the effect on patients, as well as the economic impact.

Through detailed analysis and insight and supporting the process of implementation, GMCSU’s Service Redesign offer aims to make changes economically viable, and maintain or improve quality for patients.


Why choose GMCSU for service redesign?

GMCSU have a successful track record of working in partnership with commissioners and providers to design and implement service changes that meet clients’ clinical strategy, delivering continuous improvement. This is made possible thanks to our scale of working. With a cross-boundary view, we can consider the impacts and opportunities of service change on a wider scale, and manage the process redesign between different commissioners and providers.

Drawing our service redesign specialists from across the Greater Manchester health economy gives us unrivalled insight into the process of significant changes to services. The region has seen a vast depth and breadth of service redesign across a wide range of health environments, and the learning from these processes has stayed within GMCSU’s team.

Our internal expertise, coupled with established collaborative working arrangements with partners such as NHS Advancing Quality Alliance, ensures a comprehensive and robust approach to service redesign aligned to the needs of clients and patients alike.


What we do

Service design is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers. With the expertise and capacity to manage small, medium, and major-scale redesign programmes from start to finish, or deliver individual specialist short-term activity that contributes to a wider programme, GMCSU offers a level and complexity of service designed to meet clients’ specific needs. This may range from time-limited pieces of work and consultancy to programme management support for a defined number of clinical areas, purchased on an annual cycle.

Examples of services that we provide to existing clients include:

  • Annual cycle of programme management
  • Small, medium and major scale redesign
  • Validation of existing plans
  • Service review
  • Evidence review
  • Primary care quality improvement
  • Collation of policy, feedback, information and guidance
  • Scenario modelling and identification of opportunities
  • Supporting prioritisation and the development of outcomes
  • performance improvement team


How we do it

While GMCSU’s Service Redesign team is based centrally, and benefits from the resilience that a large team brings, we know the value of building close relationships with our clients. As a result, we spend much of our time located with clients, ensuring that we understand their needs and aspirations, and those of their communities. On any project, clients benefit from the consistency and relationship-building of an assigned project lead, twinned with the wide skills and expertise from across our wider team.

As part of a large and established health sector specialist operating across a wide range of disciplines, GMCSU’s Service Redesign team draws on an array of complementary internal expertise at key points during a service redesign programme. For instance, the work of GMCSU’s Finance, Total Provider Management and Market Management services are integral to ensuring robust tendering and contract handling during the design and implantation stages of a service change, to ensure economic viability.

We also make use of our colleagues specialising in medicines management, effective use of resources and equality and diversity, to ensure that any service redesign considers the full impact on the patient, as well as making use of our communications and engagement specialists for guidance on public consultation.

To contact the team, fill in our contact form and select Service Redesign.



Whether through transactional support, or transformational work to underpin contract management and major-scale change, every NHS organisation needs a robust, comprehensive finance service.

GMCSU’s Finance offer covers a full range of responsibilities, all of which combine to integrate with all aspects of your business, and enable you to achieve your financial strategy. Our experienced, skilled people of our staff, draw on talent from across the full range of finance disciplines to design and deliver solutions, from pragmatic responses to small issues to work on long-term projects. As a result, clients can be assured that statutory duties will be delivered, and financial resources are maximised for the benefit of patient care.


Why choose GMCSU for finance?

Working at scale enables GMCSU’s Finance team to offer resilience and efficiencies that are not always possible within single localities. This resilience is backed up by robust underlying processes that are shared across the team, rather than allowing individuals to work on their own area.

Another benefit of our size is the specialist knowledge held within a large team, the majority of which have a detailed understanding of the NHS financial landscape. We understand the current hot topics – such as mental health payments by results or community services retendering – and have specialists in dealing with this.

All our team are working towards ISO, FSD and EFQM, while the majority have professional qualifications. GMCSU has a culture of developing skills and knowledge among our colleagues, and we have robust mechanisms of potential improvement are identified and acted on.

The finance service is seamlessly integrated across GMCSU services to deliver tailored insight and advice for each of our clients. Working with our colleagues in Total Provider Management, we are able to assess the financial impact of provider contracts across boundaries. With many providers spanning several commissioners, the ability to gain deep insight on their impact as a whole, and then pass this back to localities, is invaluable.


What we do

Our comprehensive package ensures that each strand of finance works together to achieve the best possible results for clients, and, ultimately, the patients they serve. As well as ensuring that all statutory duties are met, monitor the performance of your QIPP agenda, and work closely with you to ensure that we identify risks and opportunities to your financial position, and mitigated or capitalise on them accordingly.

A full service, covering all routine work, delivers:

  • Transactional service support that sits on top of existing systems to deliver a smooth and reliable service
  • Budget setting and monitoring, all internal and external reporting through to production of annual accounts
  • Flexible resource to support internal governance work, and drive business case development through to implementation.


How we do it

Clients benefit from a principal point of contact within GMCSU’s Finance team, alongside a range of individual contacts in specialist areas. Their work is backed up by our experienced senior finance team. In order to maximise economies of scale and ensure resilience, the team is based in a central location. This approach promotes cross working, increases resilience and allows us to maintain a cross-boundary view. However, we know that personal relationships are important to our clients, so your principal point of contact spends time with you each week.

We make the most of the resources across GMCSU’s specialist team. One of our key relationships is with the business intelligence section of our IM&T team. We work with them to validate the financial information against softer business intelligence, allowing us to investigate where there are disparities between the two sources.

Equally, finance is a vital cog in every stage of the process of redesigning services. We work with GMCSU’s Service Redesign team to identify areas for potential redesign through benchmarking finance activity and investment levels. Once this is done, we work with our colleagues in Market Management to develop business cases and support tender and contract negotiations. At this stage we support the Total Provider Management team to assess the value for money of contracts and monitor the financial impact of new and existing services.

Director of Finance

Neil is a qualified Chartered Accountant and trained at PKF in the Audit and Business Finance departments. For the past 15 years Neil has worked in the private sector as Group Accountant at Spring Group PLC and more recently as Finance Director in Local Government Strategic Partnership division at Capita PLC. This has given Neil the unique blend of commercial experience gained in an area of increasing cost pressure of public expenditure.

To contact the team, fill in our contact form and select Finance.



No modern business operates without a wealth of information and without information technology to support it. Healthcare commissioning is no exception.

Managing your information from creation to destruction, GMCSU’s Information Management and Technology service combine operational excellence with unrivalled knowhow and resilience. Our fit-for-purpose information technology – the physical wires, boxes and circuits – supports a wide programme of information management. This includes governance, business intelligence and data analysis. This is all possible thanks to our highly-trained, specialist staff, whose experience in Greater Manchester has allowed them to understand and meet the needs of any large, diverse, challenging health economy.


Why choose GMCSU for IM&T?

Our suite of services allows us to help you manage your key commissioning information requirements completely, from identifying the need to capture data, to its destruction at the end of its useful life. This includes the acquisition, installation, maintenance and disposal of the technology you need to make that information live for you.

GMCSU’s IM&T team provide the platform for meaningful information exchange with all commissioners of services, such as local authorities, specialist commissioners and Public Health England. Our platforms will also support your drives to improve patient, public and engagement. Through detailed business intelligence, we make sure that the information we provide for you accurately reflects the real world. Meanwhile, our data analysts spot patterns, themes and trends, making sure that this information appears in the right way, to the right people, at the right time.

While our wide footprint offers improved benchmarking and shared best practice, we have local knowledge and relationships, and an intimate understanding of the health landscape. To provide further reassurance, our state-of-the-art data centre is situated within an NHS building, meaning that your data never leaves the health service.


What we do

GMCSU’s IM&T team help clients manage their key information requirements completely, from identifying the need to capture data, to its destruction at the end of its useful life. This includes the acquisition, installation, maintenance and disposal of the technology you need to make that information live for you.

Our core IM&T service covers:

  • Commissioning intelligence and data quality
  • Education, training and development
  • Information governance
  • Operations (service desk, networks, support, data centres, purchase, maintenance)
  • Programme management for national, regional and local projects.


How we do it

Knowing how important local contacts are for clients, we offer embedded teams for business intelligence, field engineering and information governance. However, this is all underpinned by a central team that carries out work across the region – including service desk, regional business intelligence and facilitating self-service activity. This allows much of our work to be done once for all clients, offering economies of scale and risk reduction.

IM&T is intrinsically linked to all departments within GMCSU, and we make sure we know their requirements and that they understand ours. We work particularly closely with People Services, to ensure that clients’ needs are met as their staff arrive at, and leave, the organisation.


Head of service

In the NHS since 1984, Peter Moseley has worked in IM&T for the majority of that time. Peter has worked in roles ranging from medical records to business intelligence at every level of the service. This includes ranges work for mental health trusts, specialist acute hospitals, community settings, commissioners, and national and regional projects. Immediately prior to joining GMCSU, Peter worked for NHS Salford as Associate Director of IM&T. In 2002, Peter became the UK’s first executive IM&T director at an acute trust, at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham.

To contact Peter, or any of the team, fill in our contact form and select IM&T.

People Services


Across the public sector, and especially in the health service, people are at the heart of everything we do, with recent NHS reforms – and the outcomes of the Francis Report – demanding significant organisational change. This poses challenges to organisations, in complying with the law, regulation and process. Future success is dependent on motivated staff, who are challenged to be the best they can be.

From recruitment and employee relations, to organisational learning and development, GMCSU’s People Services end-to-end offer takes those issues away, and allows you to focus on commissioning and providing best quality care for patients. We work innovatively to allow clients to achieve effective workforce remodelling, build capacity and capability alongside flexible deliver to meet business needs.


Why choose GMCSU for governance?

Thanks to our regional base and consequent large team, we are able to combine a broad cross-section of specialist knowledge with robust resilience and a guarantee of speedy response.

To make sure that clients can access services in their preferred style, we offer comprehensive support online, face-to-face and over the phone. All these interactions are recorded in a high-quality system intended to guarantee ensure effective delivery and reduce duplication and omission. This ultimately frees up your time to focus on delivering high quality services of your own.

Our experienced staff – all of whom are Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development accredited – have direct knowledge of the health economy. This means that they understand the landscape in which you work. Our knowledge and skills are strengthened by a number of strategic business partners and associates, offering a blend of commercial and public sector knowledge.


What we do

GMCSU’s People Services offer is split into three broad areas:

  • People Connect – provide end-to-end recruitment and workforce information services as well as Registration Authority. Business Partners offer strategic senior management support and case work advice, as well as proposing workforce strategies for target issues such as sickness absence, performance management, leadership and talent development. Recruitment is targeted using specialist knowledge to design effective job roles, assessments and advertising.
  • People Consult – a team of specialist organisation development consultants and learning and development professionals delivering e-learning, face-to-face training and tailored interventions.
  • People Direct: – a repository of policies, templates and forms to empower individuals and line managers in HR practices.

How we do it

With a co-located team based in a central location, clients benefit from best practice shared across the region, as well as the robust resilience associated with a large team. Workforce relations can be benchmarked across boundaries – ensuring a high level of consistency and equitability across the region.

Rather than adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, GMCSU’s People Services team offer support ranging from a full end-to-end service to specific interventions. These are underpinned by service level agreements tailored to meet the needs of each client.

As well as providing support to every individual at GMCSU, we work closely with services, to offer tailored training, maximising their performance, whether that’s in service redesign, finance or utilisation management.

Head of service

Andrea Anderson is GMCSU's Head of People's Services. With a degree in psychology and a postgraduate diploma in human resource management, Andrea has worked in human resources and learning and development for more than 15 years in the third sector, Greater Manchester Police and the NHS. As a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, her areas of expertise are OD, Learning and Development and Leading through change and she enjoys working in dynamic, challenging strategic roles.

To contact Andrea, or any of the team, fill in our contact form and select People Services.

Patient Services

“While responding to patient complaints, I have found the service to be thorough, sensitive to patients and very comprehensive.”

Dr David Valentine, Assistant Director Revalidation, Greater Manchester Area Team, NHS England

Around the country, patients have questions, concerns and complaints about local health services and have a right to request information, advice or resolution to address these concerns. It is vital, both for the patient and the health economy, that this process is handled efficiently, transparently, and with a focus on swift resolution.

GMCSU's Patient Services provides a comprehensive focal point for all public and patient enquiries on behalf of our clients. As a team of experienced, patient-focused problem solvers, who look to resolve issues informally where possible, we provide the trusted and comprehensive support commissioners need.

Why choose GMCSU for patient services?

The Francis Report talks about the importance of sharing information between localities, and we can make sure that this happens.

As an organisation with a wide footprint, we can make sure that the best possible learning is shared, raising the quality of service that patients receive from the NHS. Not only does our size improve service delivery, it also offers economies of scale compared to patient services being delivered locally. Working across Greater Manchester means that our patient services team has vast experience of a challenging health environment. Within the region, there is a wide range of health providers and numerous challenges, including significant health and socio-economic inequalities. This makes us perfectly placed to translate this knowledge across the country.

Every member of our team has a wealth of experience within the NHS, led by the chair of the regional Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and Complaints network – a body with membership across the North West. We are led by the patient, not purely by process, and we are not afraid to be challenging to services in order to raise standards and improve patient outcomes.

What we do

If you take advantage of GMCSU’s Patient Services, you receive a wide range of services:

  • Informal patient enquiries, including advice, information and informal resolution
  • Managing patient complaints in line with the statutory duty under the NHS complaints procedure from local resolution through to referrals of complaints to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
  • Investigating and responding to enquiries from local MPs
  • Replying to requests under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000
  • Managing any claims made against you

While we feel that patient services are best provided as one overall package, we are able to offer any part of the service on a standalone basis.

As part of our comprehensive service, we are developing a complaints toolkit, tailored to the client. This offers you support and assurance to confidently deal with patient enquiries and complaints, guidance on how to handle incoming requests for advice and complaints, and an outline of statutory responsibilities. The toolkit can be supported with complaints awareness training, and is intended to be available as a standalone, off-the-shelf piece of guidance.

As well as handling questions and concerns, our skilled and experienced team uses a specialist database to record, monitor and evaluate all enquiries.  All patient enquiries will be monitored for trends, and learning outcomes will be reviewed and used to enable specific service improvements and organisational learning.

How we do it

One of the key strengths of GMCSU’s Patient Services is the resilience offered by a co-located team, but we know that clients value a consistent point of contact, so we look to offer that where possible. We are based centrally, in order to maximise the economies of scale we can offer, and the whole team will handle enquires from our entire client base – while taking advantage of the specific local knowledge we have.

We know that, while handling patient and public enquiries is a vital service in itself, if used appropriately, the information and insight gained can be powerful in informing service change. That is why we are able to work with GMCSU’s Total Provider Management and Service Redesign teams to encourage service improvement and redesign based on direct patient feedback.

If you also take advantage of these services, then on the ground issues can be raised, leading to concrete changes at a wider service level. Similarly, any of our clients who take advantage of GMCSU’s Communications and Engagement service will benefit from a joined-up approach to FOI requests from journalists, and to any patient enquiries that have the potential to become a media issue.

Head of service

Mark Carroll is the Head of Patient Services and Resilience at GMCSU. Chair of the North West PALS and Complaints network, Mark has extensive experience in information, advice and advocacy. Following completion of a law degree, Mark worked for the Princess Royal Trust for carers in Liverpool on a major judicial review case centred around residential and nursing home care.

He then moved to the trust’s Manchester centre, establishing the Carers Advocacy Service to support carers looking after relatives with long term illnesses and disabilities access the vital support they need to continue caring. Immediately prior to joining GMCSU in December 2012, Mark worked for Central Manchester Primary Care Trust, managing their PALS and complaints function.

To contact Mark, or any of the Patient Services team, fill in our contact form and select Patient Services.

Market Management

More than ever, healthcare commissioners seek to purchase services from a wide variety of providers – each challenged to deliver specific outcomes to improve population health and reduce inequalities. To ensure delivery, commissioners must be able to hold their providers to account, with robust, legally binding commercial contracts.

GMCSU’s Market Management service ensures that these contracts are procured efficiently, effectively, safely and compliant with EU procurement regulations. This makes sure that the commissioner’s investment achieves the improved health outcomes that it intended. To do this, the team provides support for all aspects of managing the procurement of healthcare services, in order to deliver the commissioner’s desired outcomes.


Why choose GMCSU for market management?

A number of factors make GMCSU the organisation of choice for supporting the procurement process. Having been established for more than two years, our Market Management team has built strong relationships with customers, SMEs and major providers on a local, regional and national level.

We tailor each package of support to suit the client, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all solution. This is possible thanks to the deep understanding we gain with each client. We know that while some may work in clusters, each has different requirements, budgets and priorities – whether economic, clinical or innovative.  Equally, working across a wide geography gives us the economies of scale and subsequent cost-savings that individual commissioners struggle to achieve.

Every member of our four-strong team is a member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, meaning we are at the forefront of best practice. This membership complements years of combined experience in the public and private sectors.

One of the key benefits of using GMCSU for market management is the way it can interlink with other services within the organisation, ranging from service redesign and total provider management, to finance, HR and IM&T. This ensures that procurement projects are considered in the round, and the end result takes into account all possible consequences, impacts and opportunities.


What we do

We are an operational service that delivers concrete results, but well thought-through market management is also crucial in aiding strategic decisions in terms of redesigning services and care pathways – giving a holistic view of the market to inform decisions. To do this, GMCSU’s Market Management service is structured into three broad areas – health market analysis, high-level process mapping, and a core procurement service.

  • Health market analysis constitutes a rigorous assessment of whether the quality and value for money of services can be improved using market levers such as contract management, competition and tendering.
  • High-level process mapping involves planning the structure of a procurement process from well before it begins, through the procurement process itself, and into an ongoing stage of contract management. For complex procurements, this mapping can look at key events, risks and opportunities for significant periods of time.
  • The core procurement service gives full support to ensure that you procure services in an effective and legally compliant way from the first advert to the final award.

For each procurement process, we will outline the project plan, provide a selection of providers who can deliver within the timescales required, and ultimately deliver the most economically advantageous contract.


How we do it

We know that different commissioners require varying levels of support in each of the three areas of procurement that we offer, depending on the nature of service being procured, so the package we provide is unique to the client. On any given procurement, the full team will work to ensure that there is the resilience and range of expertise needed, but the main point of contact for clients is the head of service.

The team is based at GMCSU’s offices at St James House, although we have systems in place to be embedded locally on a temporary basis, if required. To ensure that we have everything required to meet our clients’ needs, we work with recognised industry leaders, the NHS Shared Business Service, to provide capacity and contract support.


Head of service

Stuart Moore, Head of Market Management at GMCSU, is an accomplished and qualified procurement professional with 14 years supply chain experience across the NHS, utilities, aerospace and manufacturing industries. With five years NHS experience, prior to GMCSU, Stuart worked for NHS Tameside and Glossop, before moving to lead a centralised NHS Greater Manchester procurement team. This experience allows Stuart to lead his team by example, in ensuring robust, efficient and comprehensive market management.

To contact Stuart, or any of the Market Management team fill in our contact form and select Market Management.

Effective Use of Resources

The government’s aim to enable the NHS to meet the challenges of increasing demand is underpinned by effective and careful management of NHS resources. At the same time, it is important that people have access to high-quality services and care wherever they live.

While clinical commissioning groups have a responsibility to promote comprehensive healthcare within the resources available, this does not mean an obligation to provide every treatment. Commissioners are entitled to take into account the resources available to them and the competing demands on those resources.

GMCSU’s Effective Use of Resources team works closely with clients to facilitate and support making those judgments at an individual patient level.


Why choose GMCSU for effective use of resources?

GMCSU’s Effective Use of Resources team combine regional best practice and benchmarking with local knowledge gained from a strong client relationship and deep knowledge and expertise. A regional overview improves consistency across boundaries, leading to an improved patient experience.

Our experienced team employ internationally-used evidence and best practice approaches to make sure that the decision-making throughout your commissioning process is consistent, fair and of a high quality. This ensures that constrained resources can be reallocated to where they are most needed to support key strategic plans.

We also work with clients and their stakeholders to improve the level of understanding of the rationale behind not choosing to commission clinically-unsound or expensive interventions, leading to greater acceptance and satisfaction. To assist with achieving this, we work closely with communications colleagues to improve your reputation and manage media coverage resulting from your decisions.


What we do

We tailor the level and complexity of service around your individual needs, providing two levels of support:

  • Policy: developing policy recommendations for CCG approval that will provide a consistent approach to the commissioning of procedures of limited clinical value, services for rare and unusual conditions and services provided in predefined circumstances.
  • Individual Funding Request (IFR): administering the process to identify those individuals who should receive care based on the EUR policies. In addition the service supports the running of IFR Panels in each CCG to process requests that are an exception to agreed commissioning policies.


How we do it

Robust processes are in place to inform our work, with an overarching operational policy supported by a detailed operational procedure for all requests. This means that you can be assured that we will arrive at the appropriate decision based on clinical-evidence and cost-effectiveness.

Our team is based centrally, with each client having a direct point of contact, as well as a communication line into all team members. A central hub allows us to work closely with four other teams within GMCSU, meaning clients feel additional benefits if they also take up those service offers. We liaise directly with the Total Provider Management team to ensure that they are aware of our policies and create or amend the contracts they managed appropriately, based on the decisions we make. Similarly, Service Redesign refer to our policies to assess any potential impact on changes to services within a locality.

GMCSU’s Patient Services team are kept informed of any changes to national or regional policy to ensure that they’re providing the public with up-to-date information, while the Communications, Engagement and Marketing service works with us to manage you media and reputation regarding proceedures, and when communicating and consulting on significant changes to policy.

Head of service

Lynne Duxbury is GMCSU’s Head of Effectiveness and Equitable Access. In this role she leads the Effective Use of Resources and Equality, Diversity and Human Rights services. Having graduated with a BSc (Hons) Degree in Applied Statistics & Mathematics, Lynne has gained 20 years’ experience of working in the NHS including working at a regional and national level.

The majority of Lynne’s career has been in Information Management, as the IM&T lead at the National Primary Care Development Team (NPDT), Lynne was at the heart of an organisation delivering the largest improvement programme in the world. Having worked with a range of providers, notably Pennine Care NHS FT and Salford Royal NHS FT across Greater Manchester, Lynne moved into commissioning in 2009, supporting a number of high-profile pieces of work including redesigning the effective use of resources services across Greater Manchester. Lynne joined the GMCSU in December 2012.

To contact Lynne, or any of the team, fill in our contact form and select Effective Use of Resources.



The management of risk, and the implementation of robust corporate governance, is fundamental to the smooth running of any organisation. This is particularly the case in the healthcare sector, with its intricate regulatory environment, increasing business complexity, and focus on diverse accountability.

Health organisations are under huge pressure to respond to significant challenges, as demand for services increases while resources decrease, leading to a greater need for strong governance. GMCSU’s Governance Service delivers high-quality, coordinated governance and risk management, taking away the worry and the workload for our clients.


Why choose GMCSU for governance?

Taking advantage of GMCSU’s wide geographical footprint and professional links provides clients with benefits that would not be possible within an individual locality or with other service providers. GMCSU’s Governance and Risk team are in a unique position of having a ‘helicopter view’ of actual and potential risks both within and across geographic boundaries that allows you to forward plan to mitigate against those risks in your area – making you ready to act when needed.

As well as improved horizon scanning, our regional team of experienced colleagues ensure a resilience and continuity of service provision, leaving you assured of the same high levels of service at all times. Our experienced team all have a proven background in health and are specialists in the area of Governance and Risk– giving them a detailed understanding of your context, landscape and issues.

Using recognised and proven methodology designed to allow the client to develop their own approach to risk and assurance, GMCSU’s Governance team offers you access to a comprehensive range of best practice tools and techniques, coupled with appropriate implementation skills to support step-by-step delivery of those statutory duties. As a result of integrating Governance and Risk as a service to clients, you are guaranteed a holistic approach to the handling and reporting of these critical areas.


What we do

Delivered by a dedicated team of experts, GMCSU's Governance service includes:

  • Detailed review and advice of current risk strategy, policy and supporting documentation that will make clear the risk management aims, purpose and approach
  • Detailed review and advice of current and proposed risk systems and processes
  • Establishing and maintaining an ongoing risk identification and assessment process
  • Advising you on how best to deal with existing and emerging risks and presenting those risks in an understandable way to the people that need-to-know
  • Suggesting better ways for improving the handling and management of risks, while taking into account the available resources
  • Liaising with corporate auditors as required
  • Advice regarding matters of policy and legislation, including the provision of relevant governance and risk policies and protocols, for example managing conflicts of interest and maintaining and reviewing constitution issues.
  • Advice covering compliance with relevant legislation and statutory responsibilities, including the operation of the governing body and its committees


How we do it

GMCSU has a culture of embedding risk management across every service it provides to our customers. We work with all our colleagues across the organisation to give a level of quality assurance. This ensures that, no matter what service colleagues receive, they can be certain that any associated risk has been identified and managed. For instance, there is a close working relationship between GMCSU’s Service Redesign Team and the Governance & Risk Team – providing assurances to our customers that any proposed change to service provision has been risk assured from the outset.

Each of our customers benefit from having a named Account Manager, as well as the support of the wider specialist Governance & Risk Team. Your named Account Manager will understand your local context and meet with you regularly to meet with you and address your individual needs and build a supportive relationship. The Account Managers support the development of a risk culture within your organisation, and provide a visible, responsive presence. As well as support you, they will be innovative in suggesting and implementing improvements.

Head of Service

Graham Coxon is the Head of Governance and Risk at GMCSU. He has considerable experience in the private, charity  and public sectors in the delivery of local and national corporate initiatives that have led to transformational change. Graham’s hands-on expertise is supported by a range of academic and  professional qualifications.

To contact Graham, or any of the team, fill in our contact form and select Governance.

Equality & Diversity

The Department of Health defines equality as ‘creating a fairer society, where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential’. Diversity is about creating a culture and adopting practices that recognise, respect, value and harness difference, for the benefit of those to whom services are provided.

Specific legislation requires organisations to deliver equality and diversity, and the ethos is enshrined in The NHS Constitution. GMCSU’s Equality and Diversity team not only delivers this, but also allows clients to realise the benefits of these principles, embedded within all our services – for the community and the client. We have acquired a demonstrable track record of success working with healthcare commissioners and providers to assure compliance with legislation and develop and embed good practice within client organisations and services.


Why choose GMCSU for equality and diversity?

Working across NHS boundaries, enables GMCSU’s Equality and Diversity team to help clients enhance their performance in terms of diversity, which in turn leads to an improved health experience for your local population. This is thanks to our regional footprint, which ensures the sharing of best practice and improved benchmarking. As a result of our grounding in Greater Manchester, our team has experience of one of the most diverse regions in the county, both in terms of cultural variation and levels of social deprivation.

As well as working to ensure that workforce is a representative of its community, we ensure that the services you’re commissioning are sympathetic to the views of every part of the society that uses them – including the national recognised nine protected characteristic groups, such as ethnicity and gender.

All our team have professional qualification in equality and diversty, placing them at the forefront of best practice and guaranteeing a high-level of understanding of the nuance around the subject. Not only that, but we work across GMCSU to embed a culture of equality and diversity in all services that you can take from us.


What we do

By building and maintaining strong relationships with your stakeholders, we support you in developing practical solutions that deliver national policy to ensure local decision-making, fairness and personalisation. This ensures that you maintain the inclusive approaches that underpin the pledges of the NHS Constitution. We will also help you identify and consider hidden discrimination and systemic barriers, presenting options for consideration derived from up-to-date evidence. This results in improved, more efficient, public services, and reduces the social costs of inequality.

Typically, GMCSU is able to offer a range of support tailored to your needs, including:

  • Specialist strategic and operational equality and diversity, and human rights advice and support
  • Management of four yearly equality objectives and annual action plans
  • Support with the publication of the Annual Sector Equality 
  • Annual Submission to the NHS Equality Delivery System


How we do it

Each client benefits from a regular contact, based partly with the clients and partly from within our central team. This ensures that, as well as gaining local knowledge and a strong relationship with you, you can be assured of the resilience of a larger team. As part of our work within a central location, we work across all services within GMCSU – establishing and training champions within each service to ensure that equality and diversity is robust across the organisation.

Our work is particularly linked to that of GMCSU’s People Services team – meaning that clients taking up this service can be assured that their workforce is representative of their community, and that the diverse needs of your staff are met. Similarly, we liaise with our Patient Services team to understand the diverse needs of patients who call, and whether complaints may relate to patients belonging to one of the nine protected characteristic groups. We also work with our Total Provider Management and Service Redesign teams to ensure that any changes to services or contracts with providers reflect the community that they are based in.

Head of service

Lynne Duxbury is GMCSU’s Head of Effectiveness and Equitable Access. In this role she leads the Effective Use of Resources and Equality, Diversity and Human Rights services. Having graduated with a BSc (Hons) Degree in Applied Statistics & Mathematics, Lynne has gained 20 years’ experience of working in the NHS including working at a regional and national level.

The majority of Lynne’s career has been in Information Management, as the IM&T lead at the National Primary Care Development Team (NPDT), Lynne was at the heart of an organisation delivering the largest improvement programme in the world. Having worked with a range of providers, notably Pennine Care NHS FT and Salford Royal NHS FT across Greater Manchester, Lynne moved into commissioning in 2009, supporting a number of high-profile pieces of work including redesigning the effective use of resources services across Greater Manchester. Lynne joined the GMCSU in December 2012.

To contact Lynne, or any of the team, fill in our contact form and select Equality and Diversity.

Developing and delivering resilience training for CCGs

Developing and delivering resilience training - Stockport, Tameside and Glossop, and Trafford CCGs' story

Celebrating Heywood, Middelton and Rochdale's stars

Developing a staff and GP recognition scheme – Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG's story

Migrating GP practices to new software systems in Manchester

Delivering the smooth and effective roll out of EMIS Web - GMCSU's story

Stockport hypertension public health campaign

Developing a public health campaign for Stockport - GMCSU's story

Improving resilience in Wigan

Supporting Wigan Borough CCG with its first emergency preparedness, resilience and response compliance review - GMCSU's story

Improving care quality

Using utilisation management to improve care quality across Greater Manchester - GMCSU's story

Addressing the ‘paperless NHS’ challenge

Delivering the electronic document transfer (EDT) project across Greater Manchester - GMCSU's story

Transforming data storage

Developing a new data centre for CCGs in Greater Manchester - GMCSU's story

Electronic Prescription Service

Rolling out the Electronic Prescription Service across Greater Manchester - GMCSU's story

Developing a lay member network for North West CCGs

Collaborative working with CCGs to establish a lay member network - GMCSU's story

Information governance: Accredited Safe Havens

Working with CCGs to help them with their submission for ASH status - GMCSU's story

Pharmaceutical needs assessments

A matrix-working approach to pharmaceutical needs assessments - three local authorities' story

Managing risk through collaborative working

Robust CCG risk management through collaborative working – GMCSU's story

The Keogh Review: Tameside and Glossop CCG’s response

Comprehensive communications and the Keogh Review – Tameside and Glossop CCG's story

Procuring Oldham's Community Services

Procuring high-quality community services, closer to the patient – Oldham CCG's story

The extra mile reflects the work that GMCSU does over and above our core service delivery to give something back to our local communities and ensure that we are a great place for people to work. To do this, we have split our extra mile into three areas – our people, our communities and our society.

Our people

In order to enhance the working lives of our colleagues, there are a number of things we do. One of the major vehicles through which we recognise and reward our staff is our Pride in Excellence awards. These internal awards reward colleagues who go over and above the requirements of their job and highlight the high quality of work taking place across the organisation. Furthermore, through a variety of simple but important initiatives – from providing social opportunities to ensuring that working environments are comfortable and well-equipped – GMCSU aims to look after our most valuable asset – our people.

Our society

As an organisation, we know that we have a responsibility to consider our impact on wider society and the environment. To do this, we intend to investigate a wide range of plans to reduce and mitigate our carbon footprint. This process has already begun with the promotion of a greener travel plan. This places an emphasis on using public transport where possible, but we have also entered into a partnership with Liftshare to encourage colleagues to travel to work and meetings across the region together.

Our communities

We have made a specific commitment to support three local charities:

Francis House Children's Hospice

Francis House Children’s Hospice provides care for children and young adults with life-threatening conditions, as well as providing support for their families. Francis House is open to all families who have children diagnosed as having a life-threatening or life-limiting condition, and are under sixteen years of age on referral. Care is given free of charge and regardless of faith or cultural background. For more information, visit www.francishouse.org.uk.

Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support provides practical, medical and financial support for people with cancer and pushes for better cancer care in and around Manchester, as well as nationally.

Mustard Tree

Mustard Tree is a charity committed to providing life support for the homeless, marginalised and vulnerable across Greater Manchester. It provides food, clothing, furniture and training, aiming not only to improve life for deprived communities in Greater Manchester, but also work to care for the environment through continual re-use and recycling of resources for the benefit of those in need.

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Developing and delivering resilience training for CCGs

Case Study

Client profile

Stockport CCG, Tameside and Glossop CCG, and Trafford CCG.

The Civil Contingencies Act (2004) provides the main framework for emergency preparedness within the UK.

The Act requires UK public bodies to prepare for, be able to respond to and recover from, a wide range of incidents and emergencies. This could be anything from extreme weather conditions to an outbreak of an infectious disease or a major transport accident.

NHS organisations and providers of NHS-funded care fall within the scope of the Act and are required to be properly prepared for dealing with emergencies that could affect health or patient care while maintaining services for patients.

Within the NHS, this programme of work is referred to as ‘emergency preparedness, resilience and response’ (EPRR).  The Core Standards for EPRR set out the minimum requirements that NHS organisations are expected to achieve in relation to emergency preparedness.

Assurance against the Core Standards for EPRR is monitored by NHS England and the recently established Local Health Resilience Partnerships, which provide a strategic forum for health EPRR matters.

The Civil Contingencies Act identifies two types of responders in an emergency. Category 1 responders within the NHS are acute and ambulance trusts, Public Health England and NHS England. These organisations have a significant number of duties under the Civil Contingencies Act and are likely to play a leading or hands-on role in emergency response.

Category 2 responders are typically supporting organisations. Category 1 and 2 responders come together to form a multi-agency local resilience forum (LRF) based on the local police area. LRFs help to coordinate activities and foster cooperation between local responders.

As Category 2 responders, CCGs have a duty to share information and cooperate with Category 1 responders so that EPRR arrangements are robust and coordinated. CCGs are less likely to be involved in the heart of incident response, but they are expected to contribute towards and be engaged with emergency preparedness within their sector.

The NHS England Core Standards for EPRR state that NHS organisations and providers of NHS funded care must:

  • have suitable, up-to-date plans which set out how they plan for, respond to and recover from major incidents and emergencies as identified in local and community risk registers
  • test these plans through: a communications exercise every six months; a desktop exercise once a year; and a major live or simulated exercise every three years
  • have suitably trained, competent staff and the right facilities available round the clock to effectively manage a major incident or emergency
  • share their resources as required to respond to a major incident or emergency.

Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) provides support to the 12 Greater Manchester CCGs for resilience, which includes emergency planning and business continuity.

When CCGs took on a role in emergency preparedness in April 2013, GMCSU identified a need for additional training to support commissioners with their responsibilities within the new NHS EPRR structures in Greater Manchester.

GMCSU’s Resilience team developed a comprehensive training programme in line with NHS England’s requirements for EPRR.

The training aims to ensure that CCGs have the skills and knowledge required to support their communities and partners in the event of a major incident. This training is essential for those with incident response duties in support of NHS England, the wider NHS and partners. The training consists of sessions that aim to provide understanding of:

  • the health economy incident response plan
  • on-call response arrangements
  • incident management and coordination arrangements
  • requirements for an effective incident coordination centre or ‘control room’ for the health economy.

 This includes an introduction to the new user guide that GMCSU has developed specifically for local commissioners. The training precedes development and implementation of exercises, which provide trained CCG staff with an opportunity to test their new-found skills and knowledge. 

All of the training topics support the EPRR Core Standards on emergency preparedness for the CCG as set out by NHS England and the national occupational standards in civil contingencies. The training programme has been developed in a flexible way so that it can be delivered on a one-to-one basis or as a standard training course for multiple participants. 

General incident management training has been delivered across Greater Manchester within Trafford, Stockport, and Tameside and Glossop CCGs during the past 12 months,

A total of 85 directors, senior managers, and PAs and have participated in EPRR training. All directors across the three CCGs have been supportive and enthusiastic about the training, which is reflected in the numbers of those attending. Additional training courses and refresher sessions are planned for the future for these three CCGs.

GMSCU’s Resilience team intends to roll the training out across the nine other CCGs in Greater Manchester.

A training exercise has been planned for September 3, 2014. Exercise Mallard will test the knowledge and understanding gained from EPRR training, and will involve members of the wider health economies in Trafford, Stockport and Tameside and Glossop, as well as members of the local Health Economy Resilience Groups in each of these areas. Similar exercises will take place later in September for other CCG areas in Greater Manchester.

“Everyone who attended the course reported they found the training to be well organised and well planned. It was useful in terms of understanding roles and responsibilities and also enabled the on-call managers to understand and familiarise themselves with the incident response plan.”
Nikki Leach, Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG

Celebrating Heywood, Middelton and Rochdale's stars

Case Study

Client profile

NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

A new staff and GP awards scheme has instilled confidence and boosted morale across NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG.

The HMR Star (Special Thanks and Recognition) Awards were introduced to recognise and celebrate CCG employees and staff from the 38 member GP practices for the excellent work they do to help the CCG deliver its objectives and achieve its vision of healthier people, better future.

The awards scheme, which included a celebration event, was planned and delivered by members of the Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) communications team.

Suggestions to introduce the awards scheme came from a GP practice towards the end of 2013, with recommendations worked up, presented to and approved by the CCG Executive Management Team the following January.

An early decision was made that the scheme would support the organisational culture and be recognition focused, without financial reward. Nominations opened on April 1, 2014, marking the CCG’s first anniversary.

HMR CCG buys the full GMCSU communications service, enabling the communications team to project manage the scheme and event, supported by a small committee of CCG staff.

Regular meetings were held between January and the celebration event on 12 June to seek views and support in decision making, planning, publicising, launching, delivering and evaluating.

Five award categories were agreed, with one – People’s Star – open to local people and patients to nominate GPs, practice managers, practice nurses or GP receptionists who deserve recognition. The other categories were: Shining Star, Silent Star, Innovation Star and Star Team.

An impressive 124 online and paper nominations were received across the five categories from a mixture of CCG staff, GP practice staff and members of the public. These were encouraged through a sustained drip-feeding of emails, staff briefings, social media and press releases during a month-long nomination period.

Following the close of nominations, the communications team led a process of checking, verifying and anonymising nominations in readiness for shortlisting by a carefully selected decision panel. The decision panel was also coordinated by the comms team to ensure optimum objectivity, confidentiality and a clear brief.

Finalists were informed and names communicated, but the winners remained a closely guarded secret until the ceremony.

From the outset, significant importance was placed on the celebration event and its inclusivity.

The CCG chair, Dr Chris Duffy, compered the ceremony, which took place at a local hotel. Key figures and clinical leads from the CCG presented the awards. There was also an addition of a special award requested by a local family for their GP.

Feedback on the night and post-event from all who attended was extremely positive. CCG staff and GP practices acknowledged the hard work and effort that went in to making the night a success, with some taking the time to send thank you emails.

An evaluation of all aspects of the scheme and event is being carried out by the communications team to build on the success and identify improvements and developments for next year.

"The event went really well and it’s been great to receive so much positive feedback, especially from member practices. Such a lot of work was put in behind the scenes to make this happen, so a big thank you to the GMCSU communications team for their part in making our first HMR Star Awards a huge success. I look forward to the awards becoming an annual fixture."
Dr Chris Duffy, Chair, HMR CCG

Migrating GP practices to new software systems in Manchester

Case Study

Client profile

North Manchester, Central Manchester and South Manchester Clinical Commisioning Groups

The 96 practices across Manchester had a variety of different software solutions in place to manage a range of patient records, appointments, consultations and test results. The CCGs chose to rationalise this to a single solution - EMIS Web. GMCSU was commissioned to manage the project to complete the transition, including upgrading hardware and providing training support. This was not just about new software, at the beginning of the migration the first step was to check network speeds and address any problems with the hardware or systems so that the new software will work as designed, from day one.

Upgrading and installing new software is always a project full of challenges, never more so than at a GP practice where the software is the appointments booking and patients’ consultation notes. These systems are absolutely essential for the smooth running of the surgery. If they are off line even for a few hours the impact on both the workload of staff and the reputation of the practice can be significant.

The practices are currently operating several different software packages and have hardware and networks in a number of configurations, all of which would mean a degree of flexibility was required in the approach adopted by the GMCSU project team. 

The 12 week migration process for each practice starts off with a visit to the practice by the project manager to explain in depth what they should expect, and what preparation work is involved for that practice. Shortly after, EMIS trainers confirm pre and post go-live training dates directly with the practice. Practices are fully supported throughout the migration process by various members of the team at different key stages of the project - to ensure smartcards are ready, data quality and templates are fully mapped to the new system, and any technical issues are identified and resolved as early as possible in the migration period. Both the project manager and project support officer are in regular contact with the practice prior to go live to ensure a smooth process.

The project team has identified that “go-live day” is particularly important for GP practices because of the additional risks to a practice’s reputation inherent in any perceived failure. With web based training as well as specific support from EMIS trainers in advance the practice staff are well prepared. Surgeries are encouraged to plan their go-live day well ahead with double appointments to provide clinical staff with extra time to record consultation information on the new data platforms. The dedicated trainers also operate as “floorwalkers” on go-live day to provide training on specific items where staff are unsure or dealing with items they have not encountered during their training. IT engineers are also on site from early morning to ensure that the hardware was installed, and network connections are made and working correctly so that staff are able to concentrate on proving appropriate care to patients and not having to troubleshoot the technology.

The care taken by the GMCSU project team is reflected in the comment of one practice manager, who said: “Go-live day is very busy, and I would advise any practice manager going live to ensure they don’t give themselves any other jobs to do on that day! We had the CSU Project Team, EMIS trainer and the IT engineers here from 7.30am on the day to get everything up and running, and we didn’t open the practice doors until 9.30am. Clinics started at 10am and we allowed extra spaces throughout the day. Taking a practice through a large project such as this is very satisfying as a practice manager. As with the other projects we have been through as a practice, it is great when we have met these challenges”.

Where surgeries were operating with older versions of EMIS software the transition to a web based system was straightforward with much of the same functionality. However, surgeries migrating from other systems had a steeper learning curve with some preparatory work to do, notably where differences in the underlying drug dictionaries on different systems need to be managed to ensure patients get the continuity of care they expect.

Clinicians have seen the benefits of EMIS Web. GP Dr Paul Wright, said: “One of the clinical benefits is the user interface; the visual presentation is significantly improved, allowing for more clinically relevant information to be easily accessible”. Dr Wright also uses the EMIS Web mobile app, so he can log in to the system from his portable device, which is useful for home visits “I can access the patient record and document home visits while I am out of the practice, which is great.”

“The reception staff like the fact they can bring up a patient much quicker, and the booking system is easy to use and also quick. This is much better for the patient who is waiting. The GPs particularly like the consultation screen layout which enables them to put on a more structured and detailed consultation, and the nurses like the chronic disease management templates.”
Michael Pursglove, Practice Manager, The Avenue, Blackley


“Initially it was quite daunting; however it wasn't as stressful as I anticipated. The migration process itself was almost seamless, and the project as a whole was very good; a learning curve.”
Dr Frame, GP, Ashcroft surgery, Levenshulme

Stockport hypertension public health campaign

Case Study

Client profile

NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group

Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, rarely has obvious symptoms and, if left untreated, increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

It is estimated that one in four adults – 15,000 people – in Stockport has high blood pressure without knowing it. Each year in Stockport this contributes to 450 heart attacks and 220 strokes.

NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is committed to addressing local health inequalities. Commissioners believe that public awareness and education are key to cutting the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The CCG had identified that there were 12,948 adults in Stockport between the age of 40 and 74 who had not had their blood pressure checked in the last five years. Anecdotal evidence collated by commissioners also suggested that working people did not have time to get their blood pressure checked.

Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit’s campaigns team worked with the CCG and Stockport Council’s public health department to develop and deliver an effective public health campaign aimed at reducing the number of people in Stockport who hadn’t had a recorded blood pressure test in the past five years.

The campaign supports the CCG’s aim to ensure better prevention and early identification of the disease, and forms part of a long-term strategy to improve heath and reduce inequalities.

Campaign aims:

  • raise awareness of the importance of knowing your blood pressure
  • raise awareness of the associated risks of high blood pressure
  • outline preventative measures such as diet, exercise and salt intake.


  • decrease the number of people between 40-74 who have not had a recorded blood pressure reading in the past five years
  • raise awareness of the free blood pressure check available to those aged 40-74
  • increase take-up of free blood pressure checks by 50 per cent 
  • identify people with high blood pressure and encourage them to seek treatment and improve their lifestyles.

Our approach:

  • we listened to the aims and objectives for the campaign
  • we considered the challenges and perceived barriers 
  • we kept in mind the audience and stakeholders and the need to keep the campaign local. 

With the above considered:

  • we developed a phased campaign plan in line with pre-defined budgets and timescales
  • we developed a thorough design brief for creative execution
  • we presented initial creative concepts, and provided materials to allow for public evaluation and insight
  • we designed, developed and project-managed all agreed deliverables to artwork and production.

A key part of the work involved developing a strong brand that would engage people and instill a sense of community. We used a red balloon to demonstrate high blood pressure, along with an illustration of the people of Stockport to get across a friendly, community feel.

Phase 1: We began with a soft launch, placing Wellpoint kiosks at seven community sites in Stockport for a three month period. The kiosks electronically measured blood pressure, weight, and body mass index to check an individual’s risk of developing heart disease. This was relayed directly to the patient’s GP.

Phase 2: We launched the campaign in April with a week-long health awareness roadshow at the town’s main shopping centre. A team of health professionals, including GPs and nurses, attended each day to record blood pressure and to push the campaign message from the CCG. 

Phase 3: Outreach activity is currently taking place with Stockport employers to target men aged between 40 and 74. Two events will take place every week from June until November at local businesses with 50 or more employees to raise awareness of the campaign and offer free blood pressure checks. The outreach activity also extends beyond the target group to community events such as carers days, carnivals and social housing.

This campaign is supported by outdoor media, including billboards, bus advertising, petrol pump covers, and beer mats. Promotional items include banner stands, leaflets, posters and banner pens, as well as press adverts and web banners. There has also been a dedicated PR with the local media. 

Social media has been used to support the campaign through Twitter and a dedicated Facebook page. The hashtag #CHECKIT has been used consistently throughout, and monitoring and ongoing analysis was carried out using specialist software. This allowed us to hone our social media messages to match the expectations of our audience.

  • the campaign launched in April and is ongoing until November, with results being recorded and filtered through to GPs throughout Stockport
  • early indications from the campaign launch show targets have exceeded expectation by more than 10 per cent in the first three days
  • approximately 1,000 blood pressure checks were undertaken at the launch alone
  • good coverage of the campaign in the local press – Stockport Express East and Stockport Express West – each publication has a circulation of around 40,000
  • 60 Facebook posts, 63 Twitter posts, 65 retweets, 66 likes, approximately 500 clicks to more information, with a reach of 243.8k
  • the campaign has achieved results that have gone beyond expectations, for example:
             o   improved relationships and collaboration between the CCG, GPs, practice nurses and hospital staff

             o   practice nurses are very keen to support future events and taking what they learn back into their own practices
             o   38 per cent of people who attended the launch event had hypertension, more than the one in four that the CCG predicted
             o   the campaign launch and outreach events are picking up a number of people who are classed as ‘hypertensive 
                  emergencies'. Many of these people have no idea that their health is at risk and are being advised to seek treatment quickly.

“GMCSU’s campaigns service provides the kind of high-quality specialist advice that you need when planning a campaign. The approach that was taken enabled innovative ideas to flow from the whole team, but also helped us to plan the activity in a structured way.

“The support from our campaigns lead was fantastic. She has provided a consistently high level of service, is hardworking, committed, creative and enthusiastic about our priorities. We have an excellent relationship with the team as a whole, who clearly understand our business and our needs. 

“GMCSU’s impact on our drive to reduce high blood pressure has been significant and reflects their strengths in the campaigns field.”

Louise Hayes, Head of Communications, NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group

Improving resilience in Wigan

Case Study

Client profile

Wigan Borough CCG

The Civil Contingencies Act (2004) requires NHS organisations and providers of NHS-funded care to prepare for, be able to respond to and recover from, a wide range of incidents and emergencies that could affect health or patient care while maintaining services for patients.

This could be anything from extreme weather conditions to an outbreak of an infectious disease or a major transport accident. This programme of work is referred to in the health community as ‘emergency preparedness, resilience and response’ (EPRR).

In April 2013, the changes to the NHS brought about by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 saw Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) taking on responsibility for the majority of healthcare commissioning in their areas. Alongside this, CCGs were identified as Category 2 responders under the Civil Contingencies Act.  As well as the duties placed upon CCGs by the Civil Contingencies Act, the Health and Social Care Act identified a role for CCGs in respect of emergencies, including a duty to be properly prepared for dealing with an emergency. The specific requirements in relation to EPRR that CCGs, and other NHS organisations, are expected to achieve are set out within the Core Standards for EPRR

The Core Standards are a national framework for NHS EPRR and form the basis of assurance processes monitored by NHS England and the recently established Local Health Resilience Partnerships, which provide a strategic (typically county level) forum for health EPRR matters.

Wigan Borough CCG took a proactive approach to its new responsibilities and began to work closely with Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) on EPRR.

GMCSU provides core resilience services to the 12 CCGs in Greater Manchester, with each CCG having a named Resilience Manager working on their behalf. With valuable knowledge, skills and relationships from legacy PCT organisations, GMCSU’s Resilience team was well equipped to assist the CCG navigate EPRR requirements and processes. 

As ‘Category 2 responders’, CCGs have a duty to share information and cooperate with Category 1 responders. Category 1 responders are those organisations, such as acute and ambulance NHS trusts, Public Health England and NHS England, that have a greater number of duties under the Civil Contingencies Act and which are likely to play a leading or hands on role in emergency response; Category 2 responders are typically supporting organisations.

As Category 2 responders, CCGs are less likely to be involved in the heart of incident response, but they are expected to contribute towards and be engaged with emergency preparedness within their sector. Although Category 2 responders have a lesser set of duties, it is vital that they share relevant information with other responders so that EPRR arrangements are robust and coordinated.

Category 1 and 2 responders come together to form a multi-agency local resilience forum based on police areas. These forums help to co-ordinate activities and foster co-operation between local responders.

The NHS England Core Standards for EPRR state that NHS organisations and providers of NHS funded care must:

  • have suitable, up-to-date plans which set out how they plan for, respond to and recover from major incidents and emergencies as identified in local and community risk registers;
  • test these plans through:
      - a communications exercise every six months;
      - a desktop exercise once a year; and
      - a major live or simulated exercise every three years;
  • have suitably trained, competent staff and the right facilities available round the clock to effectively manage a major incident or emergency; and
  • share their resources as required to respond to a major incident or emergency.

NHS organisations are also expected to have suitable, up-to-date plans for service resilience, which set out how they will:

  • maintain continuous service when faced with disruption from identified local risks; and
  • resume key services which have been disrupted by, for example, severe weather, IT failure, an infectious disease, a fuel shortage or industrial action.

This planning should follow the principles of ISO 22301 and PAS 2015.

Through its Resilience Team, GMCSU provides Wigan Borough CCG with advice and support for resilience on an ongoing basis. The knowledge and skills within the Resilience team means the CCG has access to the expert guidance required to help it navigate the EPRR process and allow it to be an informed partner in matters relating to civil emergencies. 

GMCSU’s Resilience manager for Wigan worked closely with the CCG to:

  • assess compliance against the NHS England EPRR Core Standards
  • develop a health economy incident response plan for Wigan
  • ensure arrangements were in place for an incident coordination centre or control room
  • develop and deliver appropriate training to CCG employees. 

GMCSU assessed the CCG’s alignment to the national Core Standards and provided the CCG with a compliance score that was reported back to NHS England.

As part of its support to the CCG, the Resilience team reviewed and updated the local health economy incident response plan, which describes arrangements for incident management, communication and coordination during a significant incident or emergency within the locality. The plan also ensures that one recognised management framework is used by all health commissioners and providers across the health economy.

The Resilience team also reviewed arrangements for an Incident Coordination Centre, or control room that may be activated in the event of a major incident or emergency, and developed a guide for setting up and operating this facility.

As previous training needed to be refreshed in light of the significant organisational changes to the NHS, GMCSU initiated the development of a new EPRR training programme in alignment with the Core Standards, collaborating with NHS England on the design and delivery of this training, which initially focused on preparing on-call managers.

GMCSU’s Resilience team also worked with the CCG to ensure that plans were in place to test local EPRR. This involved ensuring that a schedule was developed for the EPRR testing arrangements required by NHS England; namely a live exercise to take place every three years, a desktop exercise every year, and communications exercise every six months.

The outcome of Wigan Borough CCG’s first annual EPRR compliance review was an outstanding score of 95 per cent. The assessment was based on the CCG incident response plan and supporting documents, the CCG incident coordination centre guide, training of all on-call staff, and business continuity work.

Local health economy incident response plans have been signed off by the CCG and shared with the local health economy resilience group.

The Business Continuity Management Policy and Business Continuity Plan have both been approved and an impacts and strategies toolkit was completed. 

All on-call members of staff have been trained to National Occupational Standards. GMCSU is continuing to deliver resilience awareness training to new members of staff as well as ongoing refresher training courses.

GMCSU’s Resilience Manager for Wigan has built a good working relationship with the CCG’s Risk and Governance Director and Accountable Executive Officer.

As part of the ongoing resilience service, GMCSU will continue to work with the CCG to ensure that EPRR plans remain up-to-date with the latest guidance, that new staff are trained, and that participation in relevant EPRR tests and exercises is maintained.

Graham Coxon, Head of Integrated Governance at GMCSU, who has accountability for the Resilience team said:

 “This excellent score reflects the good practice adopted by Wigan Borough CCG. It is a testament to effective partnership working between GMCSU and the CCG, and the commitment from the CCG to the EPRR process. It is particularly impressive given that we only had 12 months to develop all the necessary structures and processes involved.”

Improving care quality

Case Study

Client profile

Three clinical commissioning groups in Greater Manchester.

A group of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Greater Manchester turned to GMCSU’s Utilisation Management (UM) team for assistance when it became clear that a local acute trust was failing to see 95 per cent of patients arriving at its emergency department (ED) within four hours, as national targets demand.


Commissioners wanted to understand why the trust was underperforming and what they could do to hit ED targets, maintain quality standards and improve patient care.

Using a combination of data intelligence skills and clinical expertise, the UM team was able to analyse and interpret a range of datasets to provide commissioners with detailed information about delays, care quality and the impact on ED performance. Resource utilisation reviews were also conducted in the hospital and community facilities.    

The team coordinated daily conference calls on behalf of commissioners, inviting relevant health and social care professionals to share information and agree ways of supporting each other to improve performance and pathway quality.


The UM team also facilitated weekly tactical meetings so stakeholders could discuss a joint approach to monitoring key issues and develop appropriate strategies for managing activity and sharing responsibilities for performance improvement.

The recommendations provided by the UM team enabled commissioners to take a more proactive approach, enabling stakeholders to work together in a positive way to reduce ED waiting times.


The CCGs involved said: Involving GMCSU has greatly enhanced tactical meetings; the Utilisation Management team offered impartial expertise and advice; challenged and worked with us to focus our attention in the right place.”


Equally, the acute provider noted: “Daily UM reports and predictive data were invaluable in planning services and monitoring pressures.  Input to tactical meetings and the management of urgent care reviews has been helpful to the whole urgent care economy and contributed to the strong performance over Quarter 4. A real strength of UM is the clinical credibility and impartiality, they function very well as the honest broker.” 

Addressing the ‘paperless NHS’ challenge

Case Study

Client profile

All 12 CCGs and 14 hospital trusts in Greater Manchester 

On April 1, 2010 the Department of Health introduced a new target requiring NHS hospitals to send patient discharge notes to GPs within 24 hours.

Once a patient is discharged from hospital a document, called a patient discharge summary needs to be sent directly to the patient’s GP. Historically, clinical correspondence, such as this was posted to GP practices and could take a number of days to arrive.

When a practice received this correspondence, practice staff needed to scan the information and upload it to their own GP system, which took additional time. This meant that a patient could visit their GP immediately after being discharged from hospital and the GP may not actually have been able to access the patient’s discharge notes.

In line with the new government requirements, hospitals and GP practices in Greater Manchester began to consider the use of an electronic system to send clinical correspondence to help overcome these issues. 

NHS hospitals in Bolton, Stockport and Salford were already using various electronic systems to send clinical correspondence to GP practices, which worked well and highlighted many benefits.

In 2012, the Greater Manchester health economy invested in an electronic document transfer (EDT) system to connect hospitals with GP practices and began to plan and deliver the project through Primary Care Trusts.

The EDT system is an off-the-shelf software solution that integrates with patient administration systems (PAS) and electronic patient record systems (EPR). It allows data to be transferred electronically between organisations - in this case the hospital and the GP practice - securely within the national NHS computer network. The system also integrates with the document management system used by many GP practices, NHS hospitals and community centres.

Hospitals upload clinical correspondence to the EDT system, which becomes immediately available to the associated GP practice. Hospitals can upload clinical documents in batches or as and when they need to.

Practices connect to the system and use their own document collection systems to pull the correspondence down. The information is then instantly transferred onto the practice system for GPs to access. This process happens automatically every two hours and can also be done manually if practices are expecting urgent information. This ensures that clinical information is guaranteed to be with GPs within 24 hours.

On April 1, 2013, when the NHS landscape changed, GMCSU began to deliver the EDT project on behalf of the 12 CCGs and 14 hospital trusts in Greater Manchester. This involved leading on the roll-out of the project to connect hospitals and GP practices to one another and could effectively use the EDT system. 

GMCSU’s Total Provider Management service pulled together a specialist team from the IT project management office (PMOi) made up of highly skilled project management professionals with the knowledge and experience of delivering large scale IT programmes for the NHS. The team brought the added value of being able to build on existing relationships with CCGs and hospital providers.

The project team has been working closely with GP practice managers and the CCG clinical leads for IT to ensure that each practice has the right software and systems in place to connect to the EDT system. The PMO team also provides CCG boards with monthly update reports and arranges IT training for GP practice staff so they know how to use the new systems.

The PMOi team is currently working on linking the hospital EDT systems together. At present, hospitals can only send information to GP practices that are connected to their EDT system on a geographical basis. For example, Salford Royal Hospital can upload clinical documents to the EDT system for all Salford GP practices to see. However the aim is that in the future, clinical correspondence from any NHS hospital in Greater Manchester can be accessed by any GP practice in Greater Manchester.

Work is also taking place to build resilience levels for business continuity and consistency. This will involve embedding elements of EDT hub into operational teams at GMCSU so that the GMCSU IT service desk can provide technical support to practices, adding significant value.

GMCSU has been leading on the rollout to GP practices since April 2013, on behalf of the local health economy.

A total of 385 out of 507 GP practices are now connected to the EDT system.

The system is already adding value and bringing about a number benefits, including increasing costs savings, enhancing clinical decision making and improving patient experience.

It costs the NHS approximately 65p each time a letter is sent, with five million letters sent every year. The system will bring significant costs savings for hospitals by reducing paper consumption and associated printing and postage costs.

The EDT system is also benefitting GP practices, by improving work flow and cutting down the time that practice staff previously spent scanning and uploading information, so they can make better use of their time. It not only speeds up delivery and improves productivity but also reduces the risk of losing or duplicating documents.

GPs themselves are benefitting from immediate access to clinical information following a patient’s discharge from hospital. This is improving clinical decision-making - and ultimately patient care - as patients can be seen and treated quicker and more effectively.

Using an electronic system also addresses the wider NHS sustainability agenda by reducing the amount of paper that is used for administration purposes.

GMCSU’s PMOi team is on track to roll the system out to the remaining GP practices over the next two months. The aim is to get all of the practices that are technically ready to receive the necessary software required to connect to the relevant EDT systems by March 2015.

Transforming data storage

Case Study

Client profile

All Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Greater Manchester.

A data centre is a dedicated space where organisations keep and operate the majority of the ICT infrastructure that supports business requirements. This can include servers that run application software, processing data and storage equipment to store content.

Data centres come in all shapes and sizes; from a simple rack of equipment to a computer room full of cabinets. It all depends on the scale of the operation.

Prior to April 2013, the ten Primary Care Trusts in Greater Manchester were responsible for managing, storing and housing data in a number of data centres - 17 in total.

When commissioning arrangements changed on April 1, 2013 Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) became responsible for these data centres on behalf of the 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Greater Manchester.

GMCSU is responsible for providing and managing data storage solutions for CCGs clients. This means ensuring that all electronic systems and associated data are hosted in a secure environment and can be backed up effectively.

Following a review of the 17 data centres, which were housed in a variety of locations and settings across Greater Manchester, GMCSU’s Information Management and Technology team took the strategic decision to centralise and improve data storage.

This involved developing a brand new data centre, which would use up-to-date technology and bring significant benefits to CCGs.

A major programme of work was launched in November 2013, known as the data centre migration project. This involves decommissioning the existing 17 data centres and transferring the data to a brand new data centre housed in one location.

The new data centre, located in Wigan, has two data halls each with its own power supply, back-up generator, NHS N3 link, internet link and diesel tank. So should any of these items have a problem causing one hall to fail, the other can take over and keep services online.

Work to transfer the data centres is expected to be completed in February 2015. Salford CCG is the first organisation to have data moved across to the new data centre.

This work programme is closely aligned with another of GMCSU’s major IT infrastructure transformation project, which involves upgrading the computer network across Greater Manchester.

Improving the way that data is housed and stored will bring about a number of significant benefits for CCGs:

Increased resilience
Having two data halls running simultaneously means that in the event that one fails, the other will kick in almost immediately, providing increased resilience.

Additional security
The new data centre is housed in an unmarked building, with CCTV, floodlights, access controls and 24 hour security.

Improved back up
The new data centre offers improved back up times - it will restore systems much quicker than previous arrangements and can reach back further from an earlier time period. This has a direct impact on operational business continuity, allowing employees to recover saved work and reducing downtime.

Higher availability
The data centre has more capacity for data processing and storage, so rather than having to add a physical server for more processing power, one can be added “virtually”. No more waiting for order processing and delivery. Using the same approach, more data can be stored in the same physical space. 

Reduced overheads
Hosting servers in one place rather than on separate sites will enable CCGs to downsize their office environment and reduce associated running costs for air conditioning, fire proofing and security measures. 

Electronic Prescription Service

Case Study

Client profile

All Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Greater Manchester.

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) is a system that allows GPs and practice staff to generate and transmit prescriptions electronically.

Patients have the option to choose, or 'nominate' a pharmacy or other dispensing contractor to receive their electronic prescription automatically – without the need for any paper.

EPS makes the prescribing and dispensing process more efficient and convenient for both patients and practice staff. It also cuts down on what can be a lengthy administration process.

NHS Connecting for Health has a commitment to ensure that patient choice and patient safety are not compromised with the introduction of any new service. EPS is being delivered across England using two releases to ensure that these commitments are upheld.

In order to operate EPS, GP practices and pharmacies must have the right clinical system in place. As with all NHS health IT systems, access is controlled through the use of smartcards.

Roll out of the EPS in Greater Manchester originally began in 2011 under the remit of Primary Care Trusts, with the system being implemented to 75 GP practices.

In April 2013, when the NHS commissioning landscape changed, GMCSU took on responsibility for EPS on behalf of the 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Greater Manchester.  

Keen to progress the implementation of EPS, GMCSU approached the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to requested funding to deliver EPS to GP practices in Greater Manchester. 

GMCSU successfully secured £35,000 from the HSCIC in November 2013 to continue delivery of the initiative during 2013/14. This funding enabled GMCSU’s IT Project Management Office (PMOi) to plan a consistent rollout of the system to 58 GP practices across the 12 CCG areas.

The PMOi project managers have significant NHS background and project management expertise and are trained PRINCE2 practitioners.

The team used their wide-ranging skills and experience to deliver an effective implementation process, building strong relationships with practice and pharmacy staff along the way.

The work programme involved running an initial workshop with the designated practice and relevant pharmacy staff to explain the EPS implementation process, the benefits and the anticipated impact on day-to-day activities. This was followed by a series of business process sessions, which explained how EPS integrates with current GP practice business systems. Practice and pharmacy staff were also given a demonstration of EPS using a test site.

Three specialist teams assisted the PMOi team with implementation. The GMCSU Registration Authority handled upgrades and access for Smartcard users, while GMCSU’s People Consult team delivered practical training sessions alongside system supplier EMIS.

GMCSU’s Information Management and Technology team handled all the technical aspects of implementation, which involved installing the software and ensuring the system was tested thoroughly before it was launched.

By the end of March 2014 a total of 132 GP practices in Greater Manchester are expected to be able to use EPS.

GPs and practice staff are benefitting from:

  • a reduction in workload generated by patients requesting and collecting individual prescriptions and the ability to make wider use of the repeat dispensing service
  • a reduction in workload by the ability to review electronic prescriptions on screen, and either sign electronic prescriptions individually or select multiple electronic prescriptions to sign making the prescribing process more efficient
  • the ability to cancel electronic prescriptions at any point up until they are dispensed and to record the reason they were cancelled 
  • saving time and money as practice staff no longer need to sort or post prescriptions.

The GMCSU project managers gained valuable knowledge and experience of EPS implementation and have built strong relationships with practices.

GMCSU is working closely with HSCIC and others to explore funding opportunities to continue this work in the future.

Developing a lay member network for North West CCGs

Case Study

Client profile

All Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the North West.

On April 1, 2013 Clinical Commissioning Groups became responsible for the commissioning of healthcare services across England. Each CCG has a governing body made up of clinicians, NHS healthcare managers, and lay members that manages the organisation.

Lay member representatives bring specific expertise and experience to the work of the governing body in a number of key areas including: finance; patient and public engagement; clinical input; and governance. Lay members have a key strategic and impartial role, providing an external view of the work of the CCG, which is removed from the day-to-day running of the organisation.

Following discussions with lay members from the 12 Greater Manchester CCGs, Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) identified the need for a local network to support lay members in the new NHS landscape.

While this initiative was not directly commissioned by the CCGs it was felt that the planned support could add significant value to the work of lay members in CCGs. GMCSU agreed to lead and host the planned network and to review progress at six and twelve month intervals.

GMCSU collaborated with Chief Operating Officers and lay members from the Greater Manchester CCGs to determine if there was appetite a lay member network. Responses indicated that there was both a need and enthusiasm for a network; some lay members had already begun to think about establishing local networks.

The main aim of the network is to support lay members in their corporate and specialist roles on CCG governing bodies by providing opportunities to:

  • Share experience and expertise through peer support
  • Develop capability in their role
  • Consider commissioning issues and topics through discussion and external input from relevant speakers or organisations
  • Develop a network in the North West to share good practice in four key areas; governance, patient and public involvement, clinical expertise and quality outcomes for patients
  • Make connections locally, regionally and nationally to support lay members in their role.

GMCSU responded to an identified need, collaborating with lay members from the start, to provide a value added service for CCGs.

The purpose and format of the proposed network was agreed and a steering group was established to plan and develop the network further. The steering group, which is representative of lay members, ensures that planning is driven by the needs of lay members.

GMCSU hosts the network, providing administration support and coordination of  the necessary communications and planning determined by the steering group. Social media is also used to make connections, regionally and nationally.

Meetings take place on a quarterly basis at a central Manchester venue. The meetings provide time for lay members to network informally, listen to expert speakers, take part in a panel questions and answers on hot topics, and experience shared peer support through focused discussions in responsibility groups.

The responsibility groups are led by lay members in the areas of governance, patient and public information and clinical input. The groups enable lay members to have detailed discussions about their wider corporate responsibilities.

The network operates at a minimal cost and is supported by the Local Area Team, which provides the venue. GMCSU has a key role in supplying expert speakers who share knowledge and advice from GMCSU specialist teams. Additional speakers often include network contacts and other lay members.

Lay members unable to attend network meetings have the opportunity to contribute by email or telephone. Following the meetings, a summary document is sent out to all North West CCGs for information. 

Development of the North West Lay Member Network is proving to be very positive with lay members benefitting from valuable peer support opportunities. It is also fulfilling a need to make new relationships and connections in the new NHS landscape.

Continuing collaboration between GMCSU and lay members ensures that the needs of CCG’s are understood and that the network continues to add value to their work.

The initiative, which originated in Greater Manchester, has been extended across the North West in response to enquiries from lay members. The network is growing in numbers with membership increasing from 30 to around 90 registered members in a period of six months.

Lay members are appreciative of the opportunity for peer support offered by the network. Meetings are evaluated and feedback has predominantly been ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent.’ 

The network is becoming better known regionally and nationally. A number of links have been established to develop the network and to avoid duplication with alternative provision of CCG support:

  • The network is part of the Community England Learning Environment website, currently being developed by NHS England (http://www.community.england.nhs.uk/)
  • GMCSU’s Lead Business Advisor is chair of the North West Leadership Academy Sub Group for Non Executive Director and Lay Member development
  • An informal partnership has been created with Mersey Internal Audit Agency (MIAA).

Future successful developments of the NHS will depend on collaboration and relationships to respond to the challenges of the day and beyond. Having a motivated and experienced group of lay members working on CCG governing bodies can only be a positive force in enabling excellence in their work.

Information governance: Accredited Safe Havens

Case Study

Client profile

Across Greater Manchester, 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), including Bolton CCG, Salford CCG and North, South and Central Manchester CCGs, work in localities to improve health and healthcare for the public, commissioning high-quality healthcare services that represent value for money and put the patient at the heart of decision-making. Each is led by a governing body that includes GPs, other health professionals and lay people.

Changes to the Health and Social Care Act on April 1, 2013 affected the laws around the flow of personal confidential data (PCD).

New information governance regulations stated that only the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) is able to receive and process PCD for commissioning purposes without patient consent.

These changes placed restrictions on how Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) could implement and evaluate their strategic objectives and monitor and evaluate some of their commissioning activities.

NHS England sought permission from the Confidentiality Advisory Group to allow CCGs and Commissioning Support Units to have access to PCD for a limited range of commissioning uses until details of the new environment are fully defined.

CCGs can still receive PCD to support direct patient care but if they want to use PCD for commissioning purposes they must become an Accredited Safe Haven (ASH) or have patient consent.

ASH status allows organisations to legally process data in ways that prevent the identity of individuals from being identified. This data may include a single identifier such as the NHS number or postcode.

To attain ASH status, CCGs needed to achieve Level 2 of the HSCIC’s information governance toolkit by October 31, 2013.

GMCSU was commissioned by Bolton CCG, Salford CCG and North, South and Central Manchester CCGs to help them with their submission for ASH status.

The IG team worked closely with CCG clients to pull together a significant amount of evidence to demonstrate that the CCGs were able to attain Level 2 of the HSCIC IG toolkit.

This involved:

  • Establishing an IG management framework
  • Review, approval and publication of all IG related policies and procedures
  • Ensuring procedures are in place for dealing with Subject Access and Freedom of Information requests
  • Establishing and monitoring IG awareness and mandatory training programmes
  • Establishing procedures for incident management
  • Ensuring personal data is only used where there is a legal basis to do so
  • Confirming all new processes and systems are developed and implemented in a secure and structured manner, complying with confidentiality and data protection requirements.

GMCSU also developed an action plan detailing the tasks that the CCGs needed to undertake to achieve the necessary rating by this date. This involved putting a data sharing agreement in place and obtaining a signed data-sharing contract as required by HSCIC.

Despite the deadline being brought forward in an already extremely restricted timeframe, GMCSUs IG team successfully delivered the submission on time, enabling the CCGs to be considered for ASH status.  GMCSU also applied for ASH status at the same time, so it could continue to effectively support CCG clients.

GMCSU’s IG team enabled Bolton, Salford and North, South and Central Manchester CCGs to successfully complete Level 2 of the HSCIC IG toolkit - in just six months. This means that the CCGs can now legally process PCD data and extracts from the HSCIC to support their commissioning purposes.

The Greater Manchester CCGs are five of only 26 CCGs nationally to have achieved ASH status. GMCSU also achieved ASH status and can now continue to support CCG clients.

 Grace Birch, Associate Director of Outcomes Delivery and Business Support, at Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Bolton CCG has now received its interim ASH status. This has been the result of great partnership working between the CCG and the GMCSU Information Governance team. Both teams put in an incredible amount of effort, with the GMCSU team providing us with invaluable support and knowledge.
 “The introduction of the new Health and Social Care Act and the resulting restrictions placed upon the flow of PCD to CCGs caused a huge wave of concerns in Bolton. There are a number of CCG initiatives that have been developed in partnership with local member practices, which are key to the delivery of local objectives and the local vision of an integrated health and social care system. Being able to access patient data as an ASH will now enable this important work to progress, whilst keeping us compliant with the legal framework.”

Pharmaceutical needs assessments

Case Study

Client profile

Manchester, Salford and Trafford local authorities are responsible for providing a wide range of services to their local populations, from education and environment, to public health and social care. In a number of health-related areas, they work closely with Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) to ensure a comprehensive, high-quality service.

Among their many responsibilities, local authority Health and Wellbeing Boards are responsible for assessing the health needs of their respective populations, and ensuring that their local pharmacy services meet these needs.

To do this, they must produce a Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA) – a document required by national legislation that typically runs to more than 100 pages – which identifies how well pharmacy services meet the needs of a local population, and highlights any gaps between this need and current provision. The can then inform either new services or new pharmacies in a locality.

While there is a legislative requirement to complete a PNA by April 1 2015, in order to fit in with wider assessment of pharmacy services and allow better informed commissioning, Manchester, Salford and Trafford local authorities requested that this work was completed by April 2014. During the production and updating of the PNA, they work closely with members of GMCSU’s Medicines Management service.

Following the restructure of the NHS in April 2013, information required to complete PNAs now sits with a number of different organisations, including local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and the Greater Manchester area team representing NHS England. Previously, PNAs had been completed entirely by primary care trusts, who held every piece of data needed – from the location of local pharmacies and the specific services each offered, to local population health needs.

The fact that this was no longer the case causes potential difficulties, as there is a high level of uncertainty over where data sits. As a result, GMCSU needed to invest time to ensure that all information was consistent, and most importantly, accurate and comprehensive, including all pharmacy services in the locality. In order to do this efficiently, GMCSU’s medicines management team would need to work with colleagues across a number of services, including total provider management, business intelligence, and communications, engagement and marketing.

In order to guarantee comprehensive information was available in one, central place, GMCSU’s medicine management team liaised with all the organisations involved, such as CCGs and the Greater Manchester area team representing NHS England, as well as the local pharmaceutical committee – the representative body for contractors – for each area.

The wide-ranging combination of skills within GMCSU then combined effectively to produce the three documents. With people drawn together from across the region, the medicines management team has both the detailed, specific local knowledge required to inform a PNA, alongside robust regional benchmarking. Equally, the experience within the team meant that the detailed requirements of a PNA were understood.

This work was entirely overseen by GMCSU’s project management office, who drew up the plans and timelines, both of which were included in the PNAs to inform their Health and Wellbeing Boards. Thanks to this matrix-working approach, the medicines management team were able to draw on colleagues working within provider management to provide background information into which services each pharmacy provides.

Further information was gained using two surveys designed by GMCSU’s communications, engagement and marketing team. One garnered public opinion on whether existing pharmacy services were sufficient, while the other was sent to pharmacists to ascertain which services they would ideally like to offer. Once that was done, business intelligence specialists based with GMCSU’s IM&T service produced mapping and statistical analysis to the specifications set out by the medicines management team.

As a result of this approach, a draft PNA document was produced in time for the required 60-day consultation period. Once the consultation period is complete, GMCSU will analyse it and agree any changes with each individual local authority, before taking it forward as a final document to be published in April 2014.

The three clients received added value through GMCSU’s matrix working approach, with a final product that went beyond the original specification through the addition of mapping and communications support.

“We found the support and guidance from the CSU to be excellent, in what has been both a time of establishing new organisations and processes, and forming new working relationships.”
Manchester Council’s Consultant for Public Health, Barry Gillespie

Managing risk through collaborative working

Case Study

Client profile

Across Greater Manchester, 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) work in localities to improve health and healthcare for the public, commissioning high-quality healthcare services that represent value for money and put the patient at the heart of decision-making. Each is led by a governing body that includes GPs, other health professionals and lay people.

Their work is underpinned by comprehensive commissioning support from Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU).

As commissioners, CCGs are driven by standards set nationally by the Department of Health and by local expectations impacting on the business critical areas of governance and risk management. To meet those standards and expectations, each organisation’s system for identifying and managing risk, and reporting it through the governance structure, must be robust, and deliver assurances to CCG boards and committees that risks are being managed effectively and to the level required.

With this in mind, it was apparent that our CCGs could benefit from the collaborative ways of working embedded within GMCSU’s Governance and Risk service – as well as the economic benefits of procuring this service from a provider with a larger geographic footprint.

The service has developed a philosophy that in order to offer a quality product, it is imperative that timely and comprehensive communication channels are established and embedded, both internally within GMCSU and with clients. This required the GMCSU to adopt a matrix-working approach to service delivery for its clients.

In order to ensure clear lines of communication within GMCSU, the first part of the process was to identify all the different services provided to the client that could inform and contribute to the process of managing the different risks faced. In this particular case these services were Business Intelligence (housed within IM&T), Total Provider Management, Service Redesign and Governance itself. The next stage was to identify a potential representative with specialist knowledge from one of those service areas that would take responsibility for leading on the updating the CCGs’ Risk Register.

Colleagues from GMCSU’s Service Redesign team were identified as best placed to lead on this task. They were given risk management training updates from GMCSU’s Head of Governance and Risk that provided operational insight into a CCG’s risk monitoring and reporting system, as well as an awareness session to highlight the importance of the lead role. However, these sessions soon identified that this approach did not take full advantage of the in-depth specialist knowledge held within GMCSU.

 As a result, a meeting was held between senior colleagues within each GMCSU provided service, to open up clear lines of communications and identify each service’s interdependencies and exact input to the process. It was then possible to devise a solution that made the most of GMCSU’s expertise, knowledge and resources.

The interim agreement was that colleagues from Service Redesign would now share responsibility for updating key areas of the client’s Risk Register, with each service area now clear on their revised roles and responsibilities, and each drawing from their own knowledge and experience.

A robust process was established to ensure regular liaison between the service leads to obtain different perspectives on risks faced by the client, and allow the updating of the client’s Risk Register within specific timelines. In order to ensure quality of service delivery, it was decided that this collaborative process would remain in place for three months at which point it would be reviewed.

This matrix approach worked well and provided reassurance to the CCG client that their Risk Registers would be maintained robustly and in a timely fashion. Bringing GMCSU provided services together provided clear benefits for clients that take up GMCSU’s Governance and Risk offer, including:

  • a structured multi-disciplinary approach to the clients’ needs
  • specialist skills and knowledge drawn from across GMCSU combine to ensure that the CCG’s Risk management approach is fit for purpose
  • multidisciplinary perspective to each client’s risk issues developed
  • comprehensively informed Risk Registers and reportingclient expectations are met.

The Keogh Review: Tameside and Glossop CCG’s response

Case Study

Client profile

Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commission a wide range of health services for a local population of nearly 250,000 people in parts of Greater Manchester and Derbyshire, and in 2013-14 has an annual budget of £337m.

The CCG is made up of 128 local GPs from its 43 member practices and, alongside other health colleagues, including local councils, is responsible for advancing the way that health services are currently delivered; commissioning services aligned to local demand that represent value for money, leading to improved health and wellbeing outcomes for the patient population.

The communications, engagement and marketing for the CCG is provided by Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit.

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (TFT) is the main provider of services commissioned by Tameside and Glossop CCG.

In February 2013, TFT was identified as one of 14 trusts to be investigated by Sir Bruce Keogh and his team as part of the Keogh Review into Mortality Rates. The Review Team visited TFT on May 23 and 24, with the CCG invited to observe the site visit.

Between the visit and publication of the findings, private minutes of a CCG board meeting were leaked and published in the Guardian newspaper. This created a huge amount of local, regional and national interest in the CCG. The CCG had been asked to provide comment and interviews to all these outlets. However, the position remained, as it had done prior to publication of the minutes, that it would be inappropriate to comment on specifics of the hospital until the Keogh Review had been published.

In the aftermath of the report the Chief Executive and Medical Director of TFT resigned from their posts. A new Chief Executive and Medical Director were appointed in the interim with almost immediate effect and were in place for the review’s publication. The Keogh Review into Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was published on July 16. Media interest around the TFT was extremely high. 

A strategic response plan was put into development as soon as GMCSU officially took over the communications function for the CCG.

The first stage was to identify key spokespeople, along with deputies, for the CCG in anticipation of suspected high media interest. An initial group, including the CCG’s chair and chief operating officer, took part in media training delivered by GMCSU, tailored around likely questions that would arise during the review.

A media plan was developed between GMCSU’s Communications, Engagement and Marketing team and the CCG’s chief officer, regarding proactive materials and media activity, as well as reactive media protocols.

The formal inspection took place over two days during which time GMCSU provided the CCG governing body with morning, lunch and mid-afternoon media updates on coverage of the visit.

As a result of the leaked board minutes, the initial media plan for publication was scrapped in favour of a revised plan developed by NHS England, GMCSU’s Communications, Engagement and Marketing team, and other trusts and CCGs involved in the review. A dynamic and flexible approach was required as an array of elements changed in the days leading up to publication.

TFT would be the focus for media interest on the day but we advised that the CCG spokespeople should make themselves available for any press enquiries, including TV interviews after the review had been published and all press releases issued. To assist with this we produced a series of difficult questions and answers, to prepare spokespeople for the worst case scenario.

A three stage plan was implemented for before, during and after publication of the report.

Before publication, media calls were taken and monitored by GMCSU to maintain a consistent system, while other members of the team finalised the draft press release with NHS England and TFT

During publications a member of our team watched the live delivery of the report, from the Secretary of State ready to make any changes to the CCG’s response. At the same time another monitored all social networks.

Immediately after the publication, the press release was distributed to all local and regional media outlets, as well as national outlets that had shown interest, and key stakeholders. Digital and social media channels were used to promote the press release further to the media distribution. The press release made clear the times for interviews, and the GMCSU team handled resultant enquiries.

As a result of GMCSU’s support, the CCG remained in a strong position throughout this situation with its reputation protected and enhanced, building on the positive coverage garnered during the coverage of the Guardian article.

GMCSU ensured that the CCG showed clear support for both the Keogh Review process and Tameside Hospital in implementing the action plan that arose from the review. The CCG was also clear that patients and public must be listened to in order to improve and assist in the changes needed at the hospital and in this new era of opened and transparency, those making the decisions would be held to new levels of accountability.

Procuring Oldham's Community Services

Case Study

Client profile

NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is made up of every GP in Oldham, and led by a governing body that includes GPs, other health professionals and lay people.

Their purpose is to improve health and healthcare for the people of Oldham by commissioning the highest quality healthcare services, provided near to the patient, in an integrated fashion and representing best value for money.

Oldham CCG, in line with its vision of commissioning high-quality services near to the patient, is undergoing a process of procuring its community health services.

These have been provided by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust since 2011, in a contract lasting a maximum of three years. However, the CCG have decided that these services need to be delivered in a community, rather than hospital, setting.

As part of the market management service that the CCG receives from GMCSU, they were supported in all aspects of this procurement process.

Oldham’s vision for integrated care requires providers of services to be much more closely focused on effective planning and delivery for individual patients, particularly the most vulnerable.

The CCG feels that integrated care is best provided when different services come together, rather than one provider offering a one-size-fits-all approach.

GMCSU’s Market Management team, with a wide and deep understanding of different providers across the area, were well-placed to achieve this type of integration.

Both GMCSU and the CCG appreciate that community needs can be common, but also know that in there are major differences between different parts of Oldham, and these need to be analysed and catered for.

As part of the procurement process, GMCSU’s Market Management team analysed the make-up of Oldham’s community services, and divided them into six sub-groups, allowing providers to bid for either one particular area, or for a more comprehensive service:

These were brought together in this way based on the team’s knowledge of similar arrangements, and following engagement with stakeholders.

This approach would achieve the CCG’s stated aim of creating a structure in which different providers can offer an integrated structure

It was then necessary to use a rigorous tendering process to select a shortlist. Using recognised industry best practice, potential bidders were asked by GMSCU to express their interest through the EU supply system by a fixed deadline. 

In order to consider every aspect their bids are evaluated by an expert multidisciplinary team within GMCSU, to decide whether they will be short-listed for the next stage, and given an opportunity to formally tender.

There were significant benefits to both Oldham CCG and patients.

As a result of the way that GMCSU divided community services into categories, the full potential of the provider market had an opportunity to tender – from small social enterprises to large NHS Foundation Trusts and independent sector providers. This meant that the procurement process could provide Oldham CCG with the best outcome for patients at high quality and low price


The range of services offered by GMCSU meant that the project could be considered in the round. A team was brought together, led by market management, including specialists in finance, IM&T, communications and engagement, service redesign, people’s services and provider management. This meant that the approach to procuring Oldham’s community services took into account all possible consequences, impacts and opportunities for the CCG and the population they serve.




GMCSU in line for not one, but two prestigious awards

Both the IT Service Desk team and the Communications, Engagement and Martketing teams have been nominated for industry awards

Our IT Service Desk has been shortlisted for the ‘Team of the Year’ award in this year’s North West Informatics Awards, held by the Informatics Skills Development Network (ISD).

The nomination is for the significant changes the team has gone through and the transformation work they have done; achieving their targets and keeping team performance high. The awards will be presented at the CONNECT conference in Blackpool on Wednesday, September 17.

Our Communications, Engagement and Marketing team and NHS Stockport CCG have been shortlisted for a coveted Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRide Award.

The nomination is for the innovative campaign designed and developed to increase the awareness of hypertension across Stockport. The winner will be revealed on Wednesday, November 19. Details of all shortlisted entries are available online.


Creative services team design new brand

As we move closer towards becoming one organisation with Cheshire and Merseyside CSU, we continue to share some of the great work taking place in their region.

Cheshire and Merseyside CSU have a bespoke creative services team who are creatively minded and commercially aware. The team bring all the talent and expertise of a design agency with the dedication, service and personalised care of an NHS organisation.

The team have been working hard in the past month to create a new brand for the merger of CMCSU and GMCSU in October.

Their skill, professionalism and creativity have been commended by Leigh Griffin, Managing Director of GMCSU, and Acting Managing Director of CMCSU.

Leigh said: “I’ve been blown away by the work that has been produced by the team. It is no wonder they are in such demand by their clients.”

The branding will be unveiled in the first newsletter for the new organisation, due out in October.

The team are experts in their field; they know local audiences which mean they can help you to communicate messages correctly by producing stand out, tailor-made visuals for printed, published and electronic media as well as providing copy writing and photography services. 

Their services include: 

  • Graphic design 
  • Branding
  • Web and media design 
  • Print management
  • Copy writing
  • Film production
  • Portrait photography
  • Illustration.


To find out more about the team, click here


Feeling the love at Manchester Pride

Greater Manchester NHS colleagues were out in force at LGBT Pride

Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) supported this year’s Manchester Pride; the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) festival held over the bank holiday weekend, from Friday, August 22 to Monday, August 25.

GMCSU employees joined forces with staff from several other NHS organisations, to form an eye-catching float entry and marched through the city centre claiming the 'best public sector walking entry' award.

The theme of this year’s parade was ‘love’, which was proclaimed by NHS staff waving flags, carrying banners, colorful balloons and by wearing t-shirts emblazoned with ‘I love NHS’: to support the LGBT communities with Pride. 


North West NHS suppliers pass procurement process

Two of the NHS’s biggest professional services suppliers have been shortlisted to become a ‘lead provider’ for NHS England’s commissioning support framework.

The Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) of Greater Manchester and Cheshire and Merseyside, coming together on October 1 as North West CSU in an £80m merger, have passed the first phase of the procurement process for NHS England’s Lead Provider Framework (LPF).


The two organisations’ portfolios are extensive, providing business, clinical and commissioning support to NHS commissioners, hospitals, local authorities, GP practices, NHS England and others.


Their work includes:

  • an internationally recognised team working with hospitals and community trusts across the UK to review health systems, helping to spot, analyse and monitor problems
  • the delivery of a £5.4m transformation programme to integrate IT across Greater Manchester
  • the management of contracts with hospitals and other NHS trusts worth up to £3bn
  • working with other CSUs to deliver a patient and public engagement programme across the North of England.


The framework was developed by NHS England to aid clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in the procurement of services for commissioning support. It will provide access to a full range of health and social care support services in a fast, simple and cost effective manner, making it easier for CCGs and other customers to choose accredited suppliers.


Over the next four years, it is anticipated that between £3bn and £5bn of services will be procured through the LPF.


Securing a place on the framework is a quality mark from NHS England. Organisations on the LPF will be known for being excellent, affordable providers of high quality commissioning support services.


The two CSUs are continuing to work through the procurement process, which involves submitting an Invitation to Tender to NHS England by October 29. The framework is expected to launch in January 2015.


Leigh Griffin as Managing Director of GMCSU, Acting MD of C&MCSU and Chair of the National CSU MD’s Network said: “I am delighted that Greater Manchester and Cheshire and Merseyside CSUs, pending our merger to become North West CSU on October 1, have been successful in the first phase of the national Lead Provider Framework. This recognises our experience and abilities in providing support to the public sector across the North West, and our potential for further growth and development.


“The next stages are going to be challenging, and looking ahead, we must ensure that we focus first and foremost on the delivery of excellent services to our clients and build on local partnership working.”


Together GMCSU and CMCSU cover a population of 5.1m, with 24 CCGs, 898 GP practices, 3 Area Teams, 19 Local Authorities and 18 Acute Trusts – seven of which are specialist trusts and five Mental Health Trusts.


The impending £80m merger will secure the long-term future of the two organisations, which offer expert professional services at a large scale to the NHS and other parts of the public sector and have bases in Salford, Warrington, Chester, Liverpool and Nantwich.


Andy challenges himself for charity

An NHS employee from Oldham is halfway through a challenge to raise money for a Manchester cancer charity.

On New Year’s Eve 2013, Andy Eastwood, Project and Bid Manager from the Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) set himself a challenge; to complete 14 charity events in 2014, to raise money for The Christie in conjunction with Chadderton Park Sports Club.

Like most people, Andy knew someone who had been affected by cancer, and by competing in these events he hoped to contribute some much needed funds to help beat the disease.

He is now halfway into his #GoingTheExtraMile14 challenge, having abseiled, cycled, ran, and swam his way around various places in England, raising £489 of his £1000 target so far.

Asked which of the events he has enjoyed and which he found most difficult, Andy said:

“To be honest I have enjoyed all of them, but if I was to pick out the most enjoyable I would say the Great Manchester Swim (one mile in Salford Quays) as it was a totally new experience for me completing an open water swim. The most difficult I would say was the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride, but only because of the strong wind factor for the last eight miles!”

Next month sees Andy take on the Salford Triathlon at Salford Quays, consisting of a 750m swim, 20K bike ride and a 5K run.

Future events include the Salford 10K, the HellRunner off-road running challenge and the Benidorm 10K in November.

Jo Purcell, Director of Customer Relationships at GMCSU said: “We are really proud of what Andy has achieved. It is an amazing personal challenge and it is for a great cause too.”

When he isn’t taking part in these races, Andy helps GMCSU to identify new business opportunities. He facilitates, plans and project manages potential bids for new work with input from subject matter experts.

To find out more about Andy’s past and forthcoming challenges visit his JustGiving page - www.justgiving.com/AndyEastwood-GoingTheExtraMile14/.


GMCSU to host mental health summit

This September, GMCSU will be hosting a special summit to discuss mental health commissioning across the region.

At the event, representatives from all agencies in Greater Manchester and Cheshire and Merseyside with an interest in the way that mental health services are delivered will get together. They will discuss key issues and challenges, including responding to parity of esteem, the integrated care agenda and future demands, with a view to considering a functional system-wide approach.

In order to better understand the current pressures and challenges on mental health commissioning, and where mental health sits on organisations’ lists of priorities, we are currently conducting a very brief survey, and would welcome your views here.

Professor Chris Heginbotham OBE will be leading the summit. Chris is Emeritus Professor of Mental Health Policy and Management at the University of Central Lancashire. He was Chief Executive of Mind, the National Association for Mental Health, for much of the 1980s, when he represented the World Federation for Mental Health at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.

The summit will take place on September 5, from 8am until 12.30pm, at The Studio, on Lever Street, Manchester. For further information and to book your place, visit www.gmcsuevents.co.uk 


Planning for operational resilience

A new service has been established at GMCSU to offer CCGs with year-round support for operational resilience and capacity planning.

The aim is to help commissioners to maintain and improve quality patient care, for example, by optimising achievement of the national four hour emergency department standard.

Designed by GMCSU following feedback from commissioners, the service will help CCGs to effectively manage the year-round delivery of operational pressures and capacity planning within their local health economy. This is in line with recently released guidance from NHS England. You can read the guidance here.

A key element involves support with the development, prioritisation and implementation of operational resilience and capacity plans. The service operates in partnership with GMCSU’s clinician-led Utilisation Management team, which offers practical support, reviews a variety of urgent care datasets to predict pressures, and assists with the management of demand and capacity across the Greater Manchester health economy.

Traci Berry, Seasonal Planning Lead at GMCSU, said: “Access to a variety of datasets gives us a clear picture of capacity and demand pressures at a local level and across Greater Manchester. This insight enables us to assist commissioners with the management and delivery of existing activity and to help them to predict future pressures, with the aim of improving the quality of patient care.”

For more information contact Traci Berry on 0161 212 6206 or email traci.berry@nhs.net


NHS worker's pie delight

An NHS organisation in Greater Manchester has been rewarding its employees achievements, in a novelty way – by presenting them with their very own pie.

Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU), based in Salford, has been recognising colleagues who go over and above the requirements of their role, through their ‘Pride in Excellence’ or ‘PiE’ awards. As well as receiving an award certificate, the winners of the award also get to choose their very own pie from a local bakery.

The latest PiE winner is Charlotte Lawless, a Project Support Officer from Swinton. Charlotte was awarded with a delicious meat and potato pie for leading a major deployment project, updating operating systems and computers with the most up to date software for GP practices in Salford. Charlotte took the lead on escalating technical issues and resolving them as quickly as possible, ensuring minimal impact on the day-to-day running of GP practices in the Salford area.

Charlotte was also commended for her outstanding communication skills. She said: “
I feel really honoured that members of my team have nominated me for this award and I am so happy to have won. My team have been really supportive and encouraging in developing my skills and I will certainly be sharing the pie with them!”

Leigh Griffin, Managing Director, said: “The PiE awards are an important way of recognising some extremely talented individuals and teams who make a substantial contribution to GMCSU. Through their dedication and support our colleagues are making GMCSU a great place to work. Each one is a valued addition to our organisation. The real pies just add a bit of fun to the occasion.

“Charlotte is a worthy winner of the latest PiE award, and her hard work deserves to be acknowledged. She has gone above and beyond in her day to day role, in order to successfully deliver this project.”

Charlotte received her meat and potato pie - courtesy of Pryce the Bakers in Walkden – along with shopping vouchers and a certificate.


GMCSU at the Commissioning Show

This month, GMCSU will be exhibiting at the Commissioning Show at the Excel Centre, London on June 25 and 26.

We will be promoting the full range of support we offer, with particular focus on the way we use clinical input to guide and underpin a number of our services and products. If you’re attending the event, do pop over to our stand (J32) and say hello. 

At the exhibition, we will also be discussing our partnership with the Good Governance Institute in offering commissioners and providers access to a commissioning simulator. The simulator mirrors the commissioning cycle, allowing a greater insight into strategic decision-making and the impact of commissioning decisions. 

David Goldberg, International Associate at the institute, and our Commercial Director, Cathy Gritzner, will be speaking about the simulator at the event at 4.10pm, on June 25 on the Innovation Pavillion stage.

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Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit
St James's House
Pendleton Way
M6 5FW
General enquiries
0161 212 4816
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0161 212 6341
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07773 819 316
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As GMCSU is hosted by NHS England we do not have a legal requirement to have a publication scheme or Freedom of Information (FoI) procedures.

How to make an FoI request about GMCSU

Any Freedom of Information requests concerning GMCSU should be sent to NHS England. NHS England is also responsible for answering information requests about previous Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) as well as NHS England Area Teams. To request information, please contact NHS England on 0300 311 22 33.

How to make an FoI request about a CCG

GMCSU supports the following CCGs to handle their Freedom of Information requests: Bolton; Bury; Central Manchester; Heywood Middleton and Rochdale; North Manchester; Oldham; Salford; South Manchester; and Wigan. All CCGs are required to have a publication scheme and the information you require may be available on the CCG website. If the information you require about the CCG is not on their website, please complete the form in our 'contact us' section, selecting the FoI option.


Any requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 have to be made in writing. You will be informed if any charges are incurred in providing this information and asked if you wish to proceed with the request. Some types of information are exempt from publication and if this is the case you will be informed of the exemption applied and the reason why. If the information is available on the CCG’s Publication Scheme you do not have to make a formal request for that information.