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‘Named GPs’ should co-ordinate care for sick children, says CMO

Children with long-term health conditions should have a ‘named GP’ co-ordinating every aspect of their care in order to prevent them being passed from ‘pillar to post’, says the chief medical officer.

Dame Sally Davies said a ‘renewed focus’ was needed on paediatric care to enable children to access the services they need, as she published her recommendations in her annual report.

Her report ‘Our Children Deserve Better’ is published today and echoes a similar call for named GPs to be put in charge of co-coordinating the care of the vulnerable elderly 24/7 by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

She said that named GPs should would meet regularly with the child, review their care and remove the ‘silly barriers’ that can get in the way in the NHS.

Mr Hunt said this week that he was planning to write the ‘named GP’ responsibility for would be written into the GP contract in what would be a ‘fundamental change’ to the role of GPs.

Dame Sally’s report highlighted that many young people ‘are not satisfied with GP services’ and that this is leading to higher A&E attendances.

The report concluded: ‘Following the Secretary of State for Health’s announcement that older people would benefit from a named GP to provide continuity of care, I believe that there are certain groups of children who would benefit similarly, in particular those with long-term conditions such as diabetes and mental health disorders.’

The report also concludes that GPs need better paediatric training and mental health services for children need to improve.

Dame Sally said that currently children with long-term conditions see a range of GPs and that had to change.

She said: ‘Children see different GPs and get a feeling that they’re not cared for, going from pillar to post and quite often a different nuance on the messages, what they really need is one person.’

‘They need a professional that understands the illness, who meets regularly with that child, reviews where they are, reviews their interactions, is consistent, is supportive and unblocks the barriers, because in the health services…there are silly barriers that arise by mistake, and a phone-call from a professional can often work out your way through it’.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: ‘I asked every organisation with the power to make a difference to work together to prioritise improvements in the care of children and young people, and in particular to ensure more children with long term illnesses such as asthma and diabetes get much better care, in the community.’

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Readers' comments (16)

  • My experience is that Paediatrics is the one specialty where there are still generalists. These patients should have a Paediatrician or Community Paediatrician who performs this role.
    If in some localities this service is not working perhaps the reasons for these failures need looking into.
    This might reveal complex organisation, financial, professional and personal reasons for any deficiencies in service. Or it might reveal a service working well.
    Perhaps this is too much like hard work for Politicians to think of a sound bite for, in which case 'f**k it let's just dump it on the GPs again' should be the default.

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  • I must say that I have always thought what is described in the article to be the role of a GP in relation to ANY patient, children, the elderly and persons with chronic disease all included.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    Why do I come out in a rash when I read yet another pronouncement from a non clinician which starts "GPs should" ?
    A really sick child's interests are best served with a consultant paediatrician coordinating the various hospital specialists working closely with the GP who will coordinate the out of hospital services and the needs of the wider family.

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  • Dear Adrian,

    I agree that it has always been our role to steer our patients through what can be a very confusing and fragmented system. We are their advocates.

    However the new agenda is clear - we are to remain in our advocacy role but also will be responsible in ensuring that services are commissioned that meet all the needs of our patients.

    We will be to blame if everything is not delivered despite the fact an ever decreasing budget will not cover all desirable services.

    At this point our relationship with the patient breaks down - how can they trust us when our failure to commission everything for everyone is exposed. Who wants an advocate that has denied them the very service they need?

    The government has brilliantly outmanoeuvered us and, like it or not, we are to be the fall guys and private providers will be the cavalry who ride to the rescue. .

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  • Please some one tell me where out will all end? So far, we are expected to

    1. Be named clinician for elderly
    2. Ditto for kids
    3. Provide OOH care
    4.commission services
    5. Monitor secondary care
    6. Comply with CQC

    On top of already working 50+ hourskeeping up with the updates in medicine and having revalidation. Any sane person will know this cannot be done!

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  • Hello Doctor, My sickie sick child is unwell, its 3 AM now, Answer- wait till 8AM and bring him to surgery at 8AM, if acutely unwell and cann't wait till 8AM, take him to A&E or even more unwell, then call 999. Good night

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