Jeremy Hunt could hand GPs control of district nursing

GPs should control district nursing hours to help integrate services, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

Jeremy Hunt: district nursing role for GPs
Jeremy Hunt: district nursing role for GPs

Speaking to the annual conference of the NHS Alliance, Mr Hunt welcomed the GP contract agreement as a ‘hugely exciting step forward’.

The health secretary said he would not have ‘bet the farm’ on reaching agreement with the BMA, but praised GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul as ‘serious’ about the ‘revolution’ in general practice with named GPs taking responsibility for managing care of over-75s.

He called for the ‘same creativity and imagination’ to be applied to out-of-hospital care as had been applied to secondary care in recent years.

There was more to be done beyond the contract to enable GPs to deliver the vision to change the way GPs work, he said, such as overcoming the division in some areas between practices and community services by giving GPs more control over district nursing.

The fragmented nature of end-of-life care would will be examined, and Mr Hunt will also look at joint commissioning between CCGs and NHS England.

‘I think we are starting to embrace that really big change,' he said, outlining his three-stage plan to improve care for the frail elderly, those with long-term conditions, and finally patients who are generally healthy.

The health secretary said the debate over GP access must move on from a binary one over whether practices open at weekends. 'We’ve got be be careful we don’t try to solve yesterday’s problem today,' he said, and asked whether email advice from GPs could be introduced.

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