DoH launches first support pack for GP commissioners

The first of a series of packs designed to support GPs commissioning services has been launched by the DoH.

Rehabilitation: life benefits (Photograph: Istock)

The cardiac rehabilitation toolkit allows GPs to examine how much they could save by introducing a service and cutting hospital admissions.

It also includes service specifications, procurement advice and templates for developing a local service.

The toolkit is being rolled out in practices this week and is available to download from the DoH website. Further packs for dementia and COPD will be launched next year.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said the packs gave the type of support that the National Commissioning Board will provide to GP consortia.

Cardiac rehabilitation has previously been recommended to improve quality of life for heart disease patients in the National Service Framework for heart diseases in NICE guidance and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has audited service provision.

Dr Mike Knapton, a GP and associate medical director at the BHF, said the toolkit was the 'last piece in the jigsaw'.

He said he was 'cautiously optimistic' about GP commissioners raising uptake.

'GPs may be more concerned about dealing with the chronic, rather than acute, consequences of heart disease,' he said. 'Specialists know about these, but don't see them everyday. GPs are more likely to see the social consequences of heart disease.'

Professor Patrick Doherty, who sits on the DoH's Heart Disease Advisory Group, said the time 'has never been better' for such a tool. 'If people were to do this, it would improve QOF scores and cut readmission rates, which makes sense in the current financial climate and with commissioning going to GPs,' he said.

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