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Chronic disease focus 'to cut workload'

The Government has rejected calls for GPs to perform three-monthly medication reviews in care homes, saying PCTs should commission locally enhanced services for the elderly if they feel the need.

In its response to the health select committee's inquiry into elder abuse, it also decided against including 'an appropriate schedule of clinical standards related to old age services' in the GMS contract.

GPs welcomed the decision as pragmatic. GPC negotiator Dr Laurence Buckman said there was no evidence that quarterly medication reviews, which were 'very expensive and time-consuming', were clinically appropriate.

Dr Buckman added: 'If there is spare cash in a PCT's enhanced services budget then of course we would be happy with that. But in reality there isn't.' He said the increased pressure on GPs to care for those in homes was an example of 'secondary care dumped in the community'.

The Government has also abandoned plans for GPs to examine all care home deaths, which will instead be reported to the coroner's office for confirmation by the medical examiner. GPs who own or run a care home will still be able to sign death certificates, as certification by a single doctor will no longer be sufficient to register a death or for burial or cremation.

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