Primary care to take on further NHS procedures

GPs and nurses will perform more minor operations and diagnostic tests in an effort to shift NHS care closer to the patient, announced Health Minister Lord Warner.

A total of 30 pilot schemes will investigate how consultants, GPs and nurses can work together within general practice to undertake minor operations such as varicose vein surgery and hernia repairs. The new service will also mean that patients can receive tests such as hearing checks within their local surgery.

These schemes hope to end long trips to hospitals and cut down lengthy and unnecessary periods in hospital.

Lord Warner said: ‘The rationale behind providing care closer to home is based on the better use of highly specialist skills, not the dilution of them. In some areas, this will involve making sure there are GPs who are as skilled with the scalpel as they are with the stethoscope.’

RCGP chairman Professor Mayur Lakhani said: ‘Good general practice is essential in delivering care closer to home. There is an untapped potential for primary care to deliver even more services for patients so we welcome these demonstration sites showing how this much-needed decisive shift can be achieved. The evaluations will help identify factors that support care close to home.’

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