During discussions over next year’s GP contract the British Medical Association and NHS England have agreed to allocate each of the 100,000 most frail patients in England to a specific named GP who will be responsible for coordinating their care. The plans are intended to begin in April 2014.
The move is intended to relieve pressure on hospitals, including the increased demand put on A&E departments during the winter caused by the rise in elderly patients requiring care. A focus on more proactive services rather than reactive is intended to ensure these people’s needs are met more quickly.
Doctors have agreed to review their registers to identify the frailest 2% of patients. This is likely to include people in care homes, at the end of life and those who are frequently admitted to hospital. They will then take responsibility for coordinating their care across the NHS and social care sectors.
Commenting on the move, Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, said “We are bringing back the named GPs for the vulnerable elderly. This means proper family doctors able to focus on giving elderly people the care they need and prevent unnecessary trips to hospital.”
Doctors have said this will free up GP’s to spend more time on treating patients.