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'Easy access' initiatives could fragment GP services, warns Nuffield report

'Easy access' initiatives could fragment GP services, warns Nuffield report

February 7 2018 The development of new ways for patients to access GP services could threaten the...

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  • Details of flu vaccine ordering for 2018-19 season published

    Details of flu vaccine ordering for 2018-19 season published

    Thursday, 08 February 2018 10:52
  • 'Easy access' initiatives could fragment GP services, warns Nuffield report

    'Easy access' initiatives could fragment GP services, warns Nuffield report

    Wednesday, 07 February 2018 14:29
  • Restricted range of gluten free products can still be prescribed if CCGs agree

    Restricted range of gluten free products can still be prescribed if CCGs agree

    Monday, 05 February 2018 11:56
  • NHS England prepares to launch ACO consultation

    NHS England prepares to launch ACO consultation

    Wednesday, 31 January 2018 10:40
  • Improvement seen in flu vaccine uptake for start of 2017-18 season

    Improvement seen in flu vaccine uptake for start of 2017-18 season

    Friday, 26 January 2018 19:31

a smartphone imageFebruary 7 2018

The development of new ways for patients to access GP services could threaten the traditional strengths of general practice, a new study has warned.

“Initiatives that offer faster and easier access to GPs for some patients risk undermining the ability of doctors to manage people with complex or unknown illnesses and keep them out of hospital,” the Nuffield Trust report has suggested.

In particular, schemes such as the recently-launched ‘GP at Hand’ in London which offers consultations primarily using phone apps and video consultations, could see GPs pulled away from their traditional ‘medical generalist’ role “where they can provide continuity of care and focus on understanding patients in the social and family contexts that shape their health.”

The report, ‘Divided we fall: getting the best out of general practice’, has been written by Dr Rebecca Rosen. It also considers how the profession could adapt to the changes in how services are provided, proposing that it will be possible to “combine the strengths of traditional general practice with the advantages of different services for different groups” via a number of methods:

  • With a shortage of GPs and rising part time working, continuity with one doctor can be hard to come by. One way to address this could be through ‘team-based-continuity’ with small groups of professionals who develop an ongoing relationship with patients.
  • Software analysing patient data can be used to work out whether each person would benefit more from faster access, or continuity with a doctor or team who can manage ongoing conditions.
  • Technology should be used more effectively in all local practices to support easier access, monitor long term conditions and more, so that patients feel less reason to go elsewhere.

Links:
Nuffield Trust announcement  
Dr R Rosen. ‘Divided we fall: getting the best out of general practice’. Research report, Nuffield Trust. Published February 5 2018            

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