Hunt urged to be flexible on named GPs accountable for vulnerable elderly

GPs should be given flexibility over plans to make them accountable for the vulnerable elderly when leaving hospital, healthcare leaders have told health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Dr Alessi: 'Half of all GP appointments are for patients with long-term conditions.'
Dr Alessi: 'Half of all GP appointments are for patients with long-term conditions.'

A group of GP CCG leads, accountable officers, patient representatives and pharmacists, chaired by National Association of Primary Care chairman Dr Charles Alessi, met Mr Hunt in London yesterday as part of the DH’s consultation on plans for the vulnerable elderly, which closes next month.

Dr Alessi said that everyone agreed that it was ‘a good idea’ that ‘general practice takes on that accountability’ but warned that there was not a one-size-fits-all solution.

‘It is very clear that this is not about a single solution for the whole of England,’ he said.

‘It was a very consistent message of we all felt it was a good idea that general practice take on that accountability.

‘This is not just about the GP.

‘It can be a multi-professional team but the GP leads that team.’

The initiative could help tackle social isolation of the vulnerable elderly, Dr Alessi said.

‘The thing which drives a lot of activity is something as simple as social isolation,’ he said ‘It is really important. They are lonely and they are on their own.’

Half of all GP appointments are for patients with long-term conditions, Dr Alessi said and called for patients to be given the option of self care, where appropriate.

Changes to the PMS contract is one way of funding the initiative Dr Alessi said.

‘We have broad opportunities around PMS,’ he said. ‘43% of all practices are PMS. It can be part of a PMS process.’

Giving out-of-hours providers and ambulance services better access to patient records, with patient consent, would improve services, Dr Alessi said.

Senior GPs also backed the plans to make GPs the named, accountable clinicians for the vulnerable, elderly at a similar consultation event on 6 August.

In an exclusive interview with GP magazine Mr Hunt said that he wanted to transform GPs’ roles and free them up from bureaucracy so that they could take a more pro-active approach to the vulnerable, elderly patients on their lists.

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