Services for those with conditions such as dementia are receiving millions of pounds being put into better local health care for patients.
From April, there will be changes to the GP contract to redirct £164 million funding from routine office functions such as record keeping, and going directly to caring and monitoring long term conditions and assessing patients at risk of dementia.
GP practices will be rewarded for taking more proactive steps to identify people who may have dementia so that they and their families can receive earlier support. Rewards are also available for identifying and improving care for those people most at risk of avoidable emergency admissions to hospital.
They will need to match the high quality care seen in the best performing practices by ensuring that more patients are offered the best standards of care in 20 key areas. These are areas that are known to have an impact on reducing avoidable deaths, for instance for people who have heart disease. This approach will be extended to other areas of care in 2014 so that even more patients benefit.
The extra services to be commissioned from GP practices will cover:
a more proactive approach to identifying people who may have dementia so that they and their families can get earlier support,
improving care management for seriously ill patients or patients at risk of unplanned hospital admission such as frail older people,
ensuring that patients can book appointments and order repeat prescriptions online.
establishing new arrangements to help monitor the health of people with long term conditions, for example using technology to help patients manage stable conditions without having to go to their GP surgery as often.
The contract also incorporates the latest expert advice on the areas which will have the greatest impact on patient health. This includes improved support for cancer patients and those with depression, arthritis and diabetes.
The DoH say this could mean around 1.5 million more patients will get better care in 2013-14 and could reach as high as 3.5 million by 2014-15 and could help doctors go further in spotting early warning signs of illness.
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health said:
The GP contract needs to change to make sure the excellent care enjoyed by some patients is more consistent across the country.
Providing better treatment for people with long term conditions helps save lives and I know GPs will rise to the challenge to make sure standards of care in this country are world class and continue to improve.
I am committed to ensuring that we improve quality of life for people with long term conditions – and I want GPs to lead this change from within their own practices.
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