A MULTI-MILLION pound government boost for health services in Bury announced last week is not “new money”, bosses have said.

Health secretary Matt Hancock made the pledge during a visit to a walk-in centre in Bury town centre which is feared to be under threat of closure.

He promised that Bury would get more than £90.4m in additional funding over five years – a cumulative cash growth of 25 per cent.

But local health bosses have said that this funding was announced in January.

Bury NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG) will receive a £65m increase in funding, starting with a £15.3m boost this year.

The rest of the money will go towards specialised commissioning such as kidney dialysis and cancer services not directly commissioned by the CCG.

Finance chief Mike Woodhead welcomed the funding boost but said that the CCG must still find savings of £12.5m this year to balance the budget.

He said: “Despite this increase, the CCG will still receive £37m less than its fair share over the same time period, and as such continues to face significant financial challenges.

"These financial challenges are driven by historic underfunding, demographic pressures – especially the growth in the older population with complex care needs – and unprecedented increases in demand for services.”

The CCG is currently reviewing its provision of services across the borough to close the financial gap.

A review of urgent care services with a savings target of £1m is currently underway sparking fears over the future of walk-in centres in Bury and Prestwich which cost a combined total of £847,000 per year to run.

Staff at Moorgate Primary Care Centre have told the Bury Times that the walk-in centre has almost closed on weekends as an emergency measure because there were not enough nurses available.

They claim that the staffing shortages are part of a deliberate attempt to justify closing the walk-in centres.

But the Steve Taylor, chief officer of the Bury and Rochdale Care Organisation, refuted these claims.

He said: “Our priority is patient safety. We pride ourselves on providing safe care to all of our patients and we always make sure that we have enough staff employed to do so, despite the national challenges NHS organisations currently face across the country to fill nursing vacancies.”

Bury CCG’s deputy chief officer Margaret O’Dwyer said that the governing body is considering a range of savings proposals.

She said: “The current urgent care system in Bury has evolved over time and is complex. The review will include all urgent care services from those provided in the community such as walk-in centres, right through to those provided in A&E.

"The proposals will be brought back to the governing body for consideration before any decisions are made, and at that stage we will carefully consider the level and duration of any public involvement that will be required on any proposed changes.”