Latest news from the Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Strategic Clinical Networks

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November 2021

bronchiolitis social media post

Amplifying the clinical voice   


Our networks pride themselves on striving to achieve our vision statement – that the health and wellbeing of local people, and the care they receive, will be comparable with the best in the world.

Much of that work involves amplifying the clinical voice to make sure it plays a central role in improvements to the way people in Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire are treated and cared for.

In the past few weeks, this clinical voice has inspired and helped develop a PR campaign (see nursery rhyme image above) to raise awareness of bronchiolitis among parents; it’s a great example of how the SCNs provide an essential route for clinicians to influence different aspects of health and care.

It also demonstrates how agile our Networks can be.

As we saw at the start of the Covid pandemic in 2020, we are not unduly restrained by tight remits, but adapt to situations, keeping focused on the vision statement. Read more about the campaign below.

Elsewhere in this month’s issue, we have updates on the Greater Manchester (GM) Children’s Asthma Group, a new service to help people with long Covid, how to watch our cardiac event from earlier in the autumn if you missed it, a Q&A with Dr Carol Ewing, our Children and Young People Network’s clinical advisor, an exciting project to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease among Muslim people, a new education resource from our Palliative and End of Life Care Network and a practice nurse tells us about a new way to engage with people with diabetes.

It’s another news-packed update, reflecting the hard-work being carried out by all our teams and clinicians.

Many thanks to all of them, and thanks to you for your continued support.


Best wishes

Julie Cheetham



Dr Peter Elton

Clinical director

Julie Cheetham and Peter Elton

Children and Young People Network

The Network is playing an important role in a new campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bronchiolitis to parents and carers.

Working closely with paediatric consultants and clinical advisor Dr Julie Flaherty MBE, the team highlighted a need to reduce the risk of babies becoming very poorly, as well as reduce pressures on hospitals over the winter.

There had been a post-lockdown rise in cases over the summer and consultants and GPs anticipated there could be a steep rise over the autumn and winter months, when it is traditionally at its height.

Our communications team got together with its counterparts at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMSHC Partnership) to create the PR campaign, called 'Little Lungs Need Big Protection'.

It is based on traditional nursery rhymes and consists of social media posts, radio adverts and a webpage with further information on how to reduce the chances of babies catching the virus, self-care and when to seek help.

Julie Flaherty

Thousands of information cards have also been distributed to health visitors, who will hand them to parents during the six-to-eight week health checks.

Dr Flaherty (pictured left) said: “The campaign is a great example of how clinicians can play an important role in highlighting issues and the need for additional awareness.

“The existing link between the SCNs and paediatricians has proven to be invaluable in this case, allowing our concerns to be acted on and transformed into an engaging campaign.”

Please help to support the campaign and spread the word to parents of young babies and toddlers by retweeting and liking our social media posts which you will find via @GM_HSCP, @GM_SCN on Twitter, searching for #LittleLungs, and on the Partnership’s Facebook page.

Take a look at the campaign website. 

Face-to-face meeting for asthma group

Asthma meeting pic

The GM Children’s Asthma Working Group met in person for the first time since it was established this month (see photo above).

A total of 20 people attended the British Muslim Heritage Centre with a further seven people joining online from a range of organisations across GM.

The meeting was used to review the newly published children’s asthma Bundle of Care and to discuss how we can implement it in GM to improve asthma outcomes.

For further information about the group and future meetings, please contact Afia Ali.

News from our clinical advisor

Carol Ewing, our Children and Young People Network’s clinical advisor, hosted and led a hybrid face-to-face and virtual conference in Manchester for paediatricians from across the UK.   

The conference was for a group called the Paediatric Visiting Club and its 64th annual general meeting in September saw a number of Greater Manchester presentations given by Julie Cheetham and Alison McGovern, from the SCNs, as well as Warren Heppolette and Mel Maguinness from the GMHSC Partnership and Jacob Botham and Karen Clarke from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

The event, most importantly, was hosted and led by two young people, Shekinnah Wilberforce and Bethan Healey from the GM Youth Combined Authority, with support from Stu Dunne, chief executive of Youth Focus North West.

There was also a welcoming video clip from Diane Modahl, who chairs the Youth Task Force for the Young Person’s Guarantee programme, to complement the presentation given by her senior programme lead, Karen Clarke.

There were also video clips from youth theatre and arts venue Z-arts, which showed how creative arts can have a beneficial impact on children and young people.

This GM session was to give an overview as to how we are working together across health, social care, education, youth justice and the voluntary sector to co-design our plans with children and young people, so that we can make a difference to their lives. The session was very well received by the audience.

Carol is also now President of the Manchester Paediatric Club. She chairs Manchester Paediatric Club Council meetings and will help to organise 2–3 educational events a year and be able to attend the Manchester Medical Society Council meetings too. Her presidency runs until autumn 2022. See Paediatrics – MMS for more details.

Finally, the Greater Manchester Children's Health and Wellbeing Stakeholder Forum has produced a GM-wide report for an event which was held in July 2021, entitled Eat well, Move More, Feel Better, co–produced with children and young people and with local and national speakers.


Respiratory Network

Jennifer Hoyle

A new service will be launched this winter to support people with long Covid.

Known as the Greater Manchester Tier 4 service, it will provide additional assessments and treatment for patients needing input from specialists that are not available in most local hospitals.    

It is being provided by the Northern Care Alliance in partnership with Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust (PCFT).

Our respiratory clinical leads and support team, who have worked closely with the providers in recent months to develop the model of care, are delighted with the developments.

Our clinical lead, Dr Jennifer Hoyle (pictured above left), consultant respiratory physician and occupational lung disease lead at North Manchester General Hospital, said: “This collaboration is the first of its kind in long Covid care and will support people in Greater Manchester to have their physical and mental health needs met. 

"It’s a fantastic partnership and another great example of how different specialists are coming together to help people living with long Covid.”  

The service, which will be led by a multi-disciplinary team and is expected to be launched this December, will be an extension of existing long Covid clinics, and will consist of specialists in adult mental health, chronic fatigue, neurology, neuropsychology and complex rehabilitation. The main aim being to help people living with long Covid who have complex health needs.  

People will be referred to the new tier 4 service via the established long Covid clinics as and when further input and support is required.  


Greater Manchester Neurorehabilitation and Integrated Stroke Delivery Network

Diabetes Muslim community programme meeting

The Greater Manchester Neurorehabilitation & Integrated Stroke Delivery Network is working on a project to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among the Muslim community.

The Network will work in collaboration with our diabetes programme, the British Muslim Heritage Centre, Diabetes UK and the Stroke Association on the programme.

CVD can lead to heart attacks and strokes and is mostly preventable through healthier lifestyle choices and early diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation.

CVD prevalence is higher in people from ethnic minority backgrounds, with often a greater chance of death or disability in these populations.

The Network will be funding the continuation of a project led by the diabetes programme and Diabetes UK called “Bridging the Diabetes Inequalities Gap” (see more details on this below). 

The approach has been highly successful and so the work will be broadened to focus on wider CVD messages. A steering group (pictured above) has been established to help oversee the project, which will be part of a wider programme of work on health inequalities led through the centre.


Covid-19 Q&A

Clinical adviser Carol Ewing

In our regular series, Dr Carol Ewing (pictured right), our Children and Young People Network’s clinical advisor, answers questions about her work during the Covid-19 pandemic.


When did you first become aware of Covid-19?

In January 2020.

What has been the most challenging aspect of working in your area during Covid-19?

I retired from clinical practice in April 2019 so I did not have to experience the impact of lack of face-to-face contact with children, young people and families which I would have found very challenging. I did however experience not being able to work face to face with my Strategic Clinical Network (SCN) and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health colleagues and partners from other organisations both regionally and nationally.

However, I was surprised at how quickly we all adapted to virtual ways of working, and as a big team, to tackle Covid challenges. The main challenges for child health were that children and young people were in the shadows during the pandemic in that they couldn’t go to school, their social lives became extremely restricted during lockdown and there was a massive surge in children who were experiencing emotional and mental health symptoms.

Also, families were worried about bringing their children to the emergency department - I worked with the SCN and other child health colleagues to provide child health guidance for families if they were worried. I also witnessed the exhaustion of my paediatric colleagues as they kept a very pressurised workforce afloat as well as giving mutual aid to adult services during the early peak times of the pandemic. These workforce pressures and concerns as to whether the acute services will cope are continuing throughout this winter.


Has there been a low point during the pandemic professionally and if so, what was it and how did you overcome it?

I was very concerned during the first year of the pandemic that the experiences of children and young people were going to have a very detrimental long-term impact on their development, health and wellbeing and life chances. However, this has to be balanced against their amazing resilience and positivity throughout the pandemic.

My contribution has been to co–lead a programme of work to embed the voice of children and young people in a refresh of the GM Child Health and Wellbeing Framework and the GM Children and Young People’ Plan so that they can influence, co–design and hold the GM system accountable to their priorities and recommendations, recovering from Covid being one key priority.


Are there any positives you can take from the pandemic professionally?

Being able to achieve so much on a virtual footprint, in strengthening teamworking with children and young people and with professionals involved in developing and delivering services for children and young people across Greater Manchester and nationally.


Please share any additional comments or questions.

I want to see our children and young people, who are our future citizens of Greater Manchester, being treated equitably within the emerging Integrated Care System for Greater Manchester so that we can meaningfully improve their health, wellbeing and prospects in life. 

In real terms, this means that there has to be a shift towards strengthening preventative and early intervention services which are co–designed with children and young people and with joined-up commissioning across health and public and voluntary sectors. These bold steps are necessary if we are to improve the outcomes and life experiences of our children and young people in Greater Manchester.


Cardiovascular Network

People who work within the cardiac field in Greater Manchester who were unable to join the Network’s virtual event in October can now view the whole session online via FutureNHS.

Called ‘Reinvigorating Cardiac Services Across GM and Eastern Cheshire’, the meeting saw the GM Cardiac Network bring colleagues together to hear about its approach, the opportunities it has moving forwards in light of the new ICS structure, how it can play into this and what the national picture looks like.

View the event here

The team would also like people to answer a short questionnaire, to gather people’s thoughts on the breakout questions which were not covered on the day.

If you need help with the FutureNHS link and are not already a registered user, contact Naomi or Colin, from the team, who will be able to help.


New year cardiac conferences

Two conferences are being held early in 2022 which may interest people in the GM cardiovascular community.

The first, called 'Decisions About Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): Ensuring Effective and Person Centred Practice', is being held on Thursday, January 20. Find out more.

The second event is called 'Improving End of Life Care for People with Cardiovascular Disease and Heart Failure' and will be held on Thursday, January 27. Find out more.

Cardiac pathways improvement programme

The national Cardiac Pathways Improvement Programme (CPIP) has shared its first update.

Read it here.

Diabetes Network

Manchester practice nurse and friend of the Diabetes Network, Laura Edgar, writes here about her new initiative to engage with patients.

“For World Diabetes Day 2020, I felt it was important to reach out to patients about their diabetes, particularly given the impact of the pandemic. We had to be innovative due to the restrictions, which forced me to think of a Covid-safe way to engage with patients.

I came up with an idea to send out snippets of information via text message based on the 15 care essentials for a diabetic review. It was rolled out across our Primary Care Network, back in November 2020, covering approximately 1,300 diabetic patients in Rusholme, Moss Side, Longsight and Hulme. 

The campaign was rolled out over the course of three weeks, with the patients receiving a text per day. Each text focused on one topic, including HbA1c, blood pressure, kidney function, cholesterol, eye screening, foot checks, diet & lifestyle, educational courses, mental wellbeing, sexual health, smoking cessation and diabetes in pregnancy.

I found that keeping each message short and snappy followed by a link to the corresponding area of the Diabetes UK website, was less overwhelming for patients and encouraged engagement. I also included information on Diabetes My Way, encouraging patients to use this service to better manage their diabetes. Our GP clinical lead for diabetes also kindly recorded an information video as part of the campaign.

We had a very positive response from patients and noticed a real influx in patients booking in for diabetic reviews. Some patients, who had been non-responders or were overdue reviews, began making contact.”


Inequality project blog and video

Diabetes project visit

A blog and video have been published which highlight a 12 month project the Network has been involved in to reduce health inequalities experienced by Muslim people in GM with type 2 diabetes.

The programme used community influencers, such as prominent women managers, Imams and cultural community centre managers, to teach people about positive lifestyle changes.

You can watch a video of NHS England director of inequalities’ Bola Owolabi visiting the programme here.

And Maqsood Ahmad, chief executive, British Muslim Heritage Centre, which worked with the Network on the project, has written a blog which you can read here.

The project’s work included developing a training pack the Muslim community could relate to, based on the teaching of the Quran and practical actions of the Prophet Muhammed, training the trainer sessions for 49 people, establishing an Imam’s Network and using Heritage Radio to promote key messages and debate the project.

An evaluation report has shown people received a greater understanding of diabetes and the project delivered all the outcomes identified in the original brief.

On Twitter, Bola wrote that the programme was “a great model to #narrowthegap of other health inequalities”.

(Pictured above: Bola Owolabi speaking to Maqsood Ahmad on her recent visit to Manchester). 


World Diabetes Day 2021

WDD tweet

Following the success earlier this year of our first Diabetes Network Twitter campaign - and to celebrate World Diabetes Day 2021 – the Network decided to run a similar campaign.

From November 8-14 it highlighted the different diabetes programmes available for people across Greater Manchester.

The Network created daily tweets promoting the programmes featured in our new Patient Information leaflet. The tweets featured information and patient quotes from a range of programmes, including DigiBete, Healthier You, Diabetes My Way, The NHS Low Calorie Diet and our accredited eLearning courses. 

The tweets were seen by more than 9,000 people. For more information about any of our diabetes programmes, please visit Diabetes My Way. You can follow us on Twitter @gmec_scn.

Palliative and End of Life Care Network

A new educational resource is being produced by the Network following the highly successful Inequalities lecture series.

The digital tool will be developed with the GM Cancer Alliance and aims to build on the foundation of the lecture series with bitesize sessions, accessible to frontline workers.

It will highlight some of the key learnings from the sessions, which were very successful and drew participants from across the country. 

Following the Inequalities series of 2020/21, the project team drew-up a series of recommendations, one of which was to produce an educational resource which highlights the themes raised in the inequalities groups, workshops, and routes to quality improvement of care delivery. 

The evaluation of the 2020-2021 series of lectures can be found here.

We will keep you updated as this project progresses.


Maternity Network

Midwifery service of the year award

Congratulations to the maternity unit at St Mary’s Hospital for winning Midwifery Service of the Year at the Royal College of Midwives' annual awards.

Director of midwifery Kathy Murphy and the team received their award at a prestigious ceremony in London from broadcaster and musician Myleene Klass (pictured above). The hospital is part of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

The team works closely with the Maternity Network on implementing the Saving Babies' Lives programme.

St Mary’s has one of the largest midwifery teams in the country and supports women to birth more than 16,300 babies every year.

Kathy said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have received this honour, a testament to the incredible work our midwifery team do each and every day.”

RCM’s chief executive, Gill Walton, said: “This category is all about demonstrating a track record in innovation and improvement and awarded to services who have a high performing, caring staff culture and champion safety, and that is exactly what Kathy and the team have done.”

Staff news

This month we say hello to two new starters in the SCNs.

Claire Farrall has joined us as project support officer for the Maternity and Children and Young People’s Networks.

She has joined from Derbyshire County Council's children’s services where she worked in the Early Help team, safeguarding children and supporting families experiencing challenging circumstances.

Originally from Leicestershire, she came to Manchester to study and has not been far away from it since. She now lives in Buxton, where she enjoys walking her dog in the Peak District.

Claire said: “I’d really like it to be noted how, without exception, everyone I’ve met so far has made me feel welcome and supported.

“It’s a huge culture shock for me, never having worked in any part of the NHS before, but with the support I’ve been offered I’m sure I’ll settle in quickly.”

Rachel Richardson has joined the team as strategic communications lead.

Rachel has joined us on secondment from NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) where she worked in the communications and engagement team.

She will be working with the SCNs two and a half days a week with the rest of the week spent supporting the GM Elective Care and Recovery Programme.

Rachel said: “I’m interested in working with people and communities to improve services and address health inequalities.

“I believe in the power of simple and concise communications that support people to engage with the NHS.”

She added: “In my spare time I like to do yoga and get out to do some photography when I get chance. I am also mum to two mischievous pugs Dexter and Rudy.”

Finally, Colin Daffern is now providing full-time maternity cover as project officer for the Cardiovascular Network. Colin joined us four years ago as analytical support officer.


Read our Achievements document

Top 10 achievements


If you would like to find out more about what we do and the improvements we have made to health and care services in GM and Eastern Cheshire, take a look at our Achievements 2013-2020 document.

It looks back on how our clinical leads have helped shape changes which have improved the lives of thousands of people living in the region.

The report looks at each network, explaining how our life course approach has seen sustainable improvements from maternity to children to end of life care, with many long-term conditions tackled in between.

See our website for more information on all our networks.