Getting access to GP surgeries is people’s biggest concern about health, according to a Bolton MP addressing a recent meeting in parliament.

Chris Green, MP for Bolton West, had been speaking at a meeting of the Health and Social Care Select Committee in Westminster last week.

He said that people in his area had shown “observable concerns” most clearly where I came to accessing general practitioners.

Mr Green said: “We are getting a new health centre built in Horwich, which is incredibly welcome.

“But when I talk to constituents in Blackrod, in Westhoughton, their biggest concern over health is over GP services.”

The Bolton News: The new health facility in Horwich has been under discussion since 2016The new health facility in Horwich has been under discussion since 2016 (Image: Bolton Council)

The new health facility in Horwich has been under discussion since plans were first raised for the site on Market Street in 2016.

The multi-million-pound development was approved in November last year, with working getting underway earlier on this year.

It will replace three exiting medical practices in the town and will include a pharmacy with specialist clinics for mental health and physiotherapy.

But though Mr Green said this was a positive step, he asked the secretary of state for health, Victoria Atkins MP, who was best held responsible for people’s ability to access GPs.

He asked whether this was handled at national government level or by Integrated Care Boards at local level.

In Bolton’s case the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership was introduced in June last year, replacing the old Clinical Commission Group.

In response to Mr Green’s questions, Ms Atkins said that her role at national level was to set policy and the “direction of travel” for local boards to follow.

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But it was up to Integrated Care Boards around the country to then follow policies like these.

Ms Atkins said: “It is for NHS England to operate the NHS and through that the ICBs at local level.

“So NHS England will issue the guidance and it is then for ICBs to work out operationally how they can achieve that.”

Ms Atkins added that her department hoped to ensure “good practice” across England and Wales and would ask why if such practices were not replicated across both countries.