Posted on September 11, 2013

Elderly care to be organised by GPs

It has been announced that GPs will soon be responsible for the co-ordination of all care for the elderly. The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has stated that GP practices will be required to name a GP to deal with any care required outside hospital care.  Changes are to be made to the GP contract so that a round-the-clock service can be established, and the first people to benefit from this new system will be the vulnerable and the elderly.  It is hoped that this change will be implemented in 2014. One of the reasons for this change is to help to reduce pressure on A&E departments and it will result in a more integrated care system, linking care at home with primary care.  At the present time many elderly people go to A&E because they are unable to get the care they need elsewhere.  Changing the approach to care will facilitate a quicker diagnosis and treatment, and most people will be discharged much more quickly than they are at the moment.  A more integrated approach to care will also allow hospitals to access the records kept by GPs in order to speed things up when patients are admitted. The changes are to be a long-term solution, but concern has been raised that GPs are already stretched and taking responsibility for co-ordinating care at home in addition other services could leave their resources at breaking point.  More resources are required in order to make this system a reality, and the focus will need to be on the care rather than on 'tick-boxing'.
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