PLANS to reform Bolton’s health services could face a setback over a failure to secure much-needed funding.

The money needed to update the town’s NHS digital systems has fallen short.

Health bosses sought funding from the Greater Manchester (GM) Digital Fund for Bolton’s five-year Locality Plan.

However, Bolton NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chief officer Su Long said they have not received as much as hoped for.

In a report, the Bolton Council Health and Wellbeing Board revealed that Bolton secured £600,000, which was described as ‘insufficient’ to deliver the information management and technology services required.

CCG chairman Dr Wirin Bhatiani said: “The GM digital fund has been a real disappointment. Greater Manchester as a region lags behind some parts of the country in terms of digital modernity and Bolton falls even further behind.

“This really puts us on a back foot and is a risk to some of our initiatives.”

The Bolton Health and Social Care Partnership was awarded £28.8m in GM transformation funding in February to implement changes in health and social care through the Locality Plan, focusing on employment, falls, long-term conditions, dementia, social care needs and social isolation.

The partnership is made up of the CCG, council, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, GM Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Healthwatch Bolton, Bolton GP Federation and Bolton CVS.

Changes include creating a robust and reliable IT infrastructure to support a shared confidential computer record of a patient’s health and social care details.

The Bolton Care Record was launched last month and so professionals in the NHS can access information on a patient’s treatment — including medications, allergies and test results. Partners had initially bid to the GM Health and Social Care Partnership Transformation Fund for £49.8m investment over four years for the plan — which would include the money for digital improvements.

However, the GM chiefs decided that Bolton should be able to self-fund the plan after three years, while further money could be provided through the separate digital fund. Ms Long added: “The really big risk factor for us is the GM digital fund in its totality has yet to transpire. There are risks there for technology work force changes to help people be more efficient. We have to discus this with GM but it gets the funding on a national level, and it might not be getting the amount they want.”