DH must tackle 'huge workload challenges facing GPs', warns RCGP

Ministers must tackle huge rises in GP workload and provide extra resources if the profession is to play a key role in improved, integrated healthcare for the elderly, the RCGP has warned.

Professor Clare Gerada: GP role key in elderly care
Professor Clare Gerada: GP role key in elderly care

Speaking as the DH set out plans to fully integrate health and social care by 2018, RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada backed plans for a 'whole system approach' to care for elderly patients.

Dr Gerada said: 'Our ageing population and the growing funding crisis in social care are presenting the health service with one of its biggest dilemmas.

'We therefore welcome the decision to review how we can develop a truly 'whole system' approach to care for vulnerable elderly patients.

'We were pleased to hear the secretary of state acknowledge that GPs play a crucial role in proactively managing the health of vulnerable older people. For too long this issue has been focused on hospital care when it is GPs who often provide the vital link between health, secondary care and social care. We make the NHS fair and accessible and are the best value for money in the health service.'

But she warned: 'To achieve meaningful change the review must look at the huge workload challenges facing GPs and ensure that the right investment is in place to enable primary care to deliver for elderly patients. If properly resourced, better joined-up working between general practice, secondary care and social care can deliver better health and wellbeing for our elderly patients, as well as helping to identify and support those most at risk of ill health.'

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