DoH calls for expansion of GP care for HIV-positive patients

GPs' role in the care of HIV-positive patients should be expanded, the DoH has said.

The Lords select committee report on HIV found that GP care could improve HIV patient services
The Lords select committee report on HIV found that GP care could improve HIV patient services

Shared care arrangements and home delivery of medicines by GPs should be investigated as ways of improving patient services, it said in response to a Lords select committee report on HIV.

The government said it would redesign care to reduce the hospital appointments patients have to attend.

‘The NHS is increasingly recognising innovative ways to redesign patient care pathways,’ it said. Home delivery of retroviral medicines ‘can reduce the frequency that patients have to attend outpatient clinics and help them adhere to their treatment’, the DoH response said.

Commissioners and GPs should develop guidelines to expand the use of innovative care pathways, it added.

‘We recommend that the government work with specialists, GPs and patients to develop a strategy for GPs to take on shared responsibility for the care of HIV-positive patients.’

The government said this work should include broader consideration of the appropriate boundaries of responsibility between primary care and specialist services.

‘The results should form the basis of longer-term strategies for expanding the role of GPs in the management of HIV-positive patients,’ it said.

The government is also keen to expand development of HIV services beyond traditional NHS providers.

‘We are considering how any qualified provider might be appropriate for elements of the HIV treatment and care pathway,’ the response said.

‘In 2012/13 we are asking commissioners to assess local needs and priorities and select three or more community or mental health services. This might include HIV services if patients have identified this as an area where services could improve through offering more choice of provider.’

The response also called for an indicator on late HIV diagnosis to be included in the public health outcomes framework.

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