Conservative conference: GPs unlikely to be paid more for 24-hour elderly duty

Practices are unlikely to be handed any extra money for co-ordinating 24-hour care of the frail elderly from April, a Conservative GP activist has warned.

Dr Paul Charlson: vice chair of Conservative Health group
Dr Paul Charlson: vice chair of Conservative Health group

Yorkshire GP and vice chairman of policy forum Conservative Health, Dr Paul Charlson, said he expected health secretary Jeremy Hunt to unveil more detail on his plans when he addresses the Conservative party conference in Manchester on Tuesday.

DH consultation on making named GPs accountable for the care of elderly patients 'at all times' when they are not in hospital, closed on 27 September.

Dr Charlson said the GP contract was likely to change to include this new legal responsibility.

‘I would like to see it done by a culture change but I suspect the only way it will happen will be with a contract change,' he said.

‘I don’t think there will be any extra funding for this but there may be for delivering other aspects of a new contract. It is not really anything different from what many of us did for years prior to the 2004 GP contract and was part of being a GP.

 

‘The difference is that GPs will not be actually delivering the care personally this time but making sure that it is properly co-ordinated. Frail patients will have the assurance of knowing who will be looking after them if they fall ill out of hours. This should reduce pressure on A&E and improve care.’

RCGP chairwoman Professor Clare Gerada has said that Mr Hunt's proposals will not work without funding to expand the GP workforce.

Despite Mr Hunt telling GP that the contract needed a ‘major rethink’, Dr Charlson said that the changes would not be as ‘radical’ as some GPs are expecting.

‘I think the QOF will be simplified, it is likely some of it will be taken out,’ he said. ‘The money from that will be shifted to other parts of primary care.

‘I would like to see a commensurate shift of resources for new work, that hospitals previously did. If you want GPs to do more you have to recruit more GPs and put the funding in to pay for more GPs.

‘I absolutely think there should be a pledge to fund more training places and to say to GPs if you do provide quality care obviously the resources will follow that. I would like to see a genuine pledge to support GPs, which will need a change of direction of funding.

'I would also like to see GPs who invest a lot rewarded for that. The contract currently mitigates against that.’

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