£3.5m for US to show GPs the way
The Government is spending £3.5 million to hire US consultants to show primary care trusts how to improve GP care of the elderly, writes Ian Cameron.
The Evercare project pion- eered by US health management organisation United Health Group is being piloted in 10 PCTs over the next 18 months. GPs will act as mentors to train nurse practitioners to cut emergency admissions, reduce the adverse effects of poly-drug regimes and provide a more accessible primary care service.
The Department of Health has already spent £360,000 flying six United staff on three trips to the UK and £35,000 flying PCT staff to Minnesota.
Each PCT will now receive £350,000 to pay United for 'hands-on support' consultancy, advice and training. The PCTs will then get an average £73,000 each to 'support, sustain and embed' the pilot.
The department said the scheme had proved cost-effective in the US but GPs involved in the pilots baulked at the cost. Cleveland LMC secretary Dr John Canning said: 'The start-up costs seem phenomenal. One wonders if it's good value for money.'