GMC could define GPs' named-clinician role

The GMC could define what is required of GPs in their role as named clinicians responsible for elderly patients' care, according to the regulator's chief executive.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson: elderly care definition
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson: elderly care definition

Last week GP leaders and ministers agreed that from April, named GPs will be assigned to 4m patients over 75 under the the new contract agreement.

Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum event on seven-day services and urgent care, GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said the doctors’ watchdog would look at how it can define GPs’ responsibilities to patients as named clinicians.

‘We need to make sure at every stage of care there is an individual clinician who has responsibility, who the relatives feel they can go to, and who manages patients effectively through that system,' he said.

‘And we will be exploring ourselves whether there is more we can do to define and highlight the additional responsibilities that we believe both consultants and GPs as senior doctors have for that patient.’

Under the new contract arrangements named GPs will have to co-ordinate a multidisciplinary care package for over 75s and will be accountable for their care within core contract hours, which have remained unchanged.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said there was no need for GMC involvement in the new named-GP contractual arrangement, for which guidance is yet to be agreed. ‘We simply have the concept of named GP being applied, which is already applied in many practices. This is not about GPs’ personal responsibility, this is something that should be accommodated by the contract. We don’t see any need for any further GMC guidance or definition on the contractual changes,' he said.

Dr Nagpaul said there had been no discussion with GPC about GMC involvment.

House of Commons health select committee chairman, Stephen Dorrell MP (Con, Charnwood) also speaking at the Westminster Health Forum, welcomed agreement over named GPs.

'I was pleased to hear last week that the government and the BMA have agreed. Not that everybody has to have a named GP. Most of us are fortunate enough not to remember, often, the name of the GP we saw last time we went. But if you have a developing care need, actually to have somebody responsible for co-ordinating your care is about quality of individual patient experience, and effective delivery of care.'

But Mr Dorrell suggested the current model was not always fit to help keep older people with developing healthcare need out of urgent care services.

He said: 'Does modern general practice meet that requirement to deliver integrated and developing care and support with medical intervention? Is that what the Bevanite model of general practice is designed to deliver? In some it does deliver it. It some cases, it definitely doesn’t.'

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