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GPs reject Darzi criticism

GPs have hit back at allegations by Lord Darzi that primary care is failing people with long-term conditions.

The criticisms highlighted diabetes, CVD, COPD and dementia as areas within general practice where care was substandard.

Lord Darzi wrote: 'We know that the care of patients with long-term conditions is not as good as it could be and does not always meet recommended guidelines.'

He also cited an analysis by researchers at the University of Birmingham as proof that GPs were failing to adequately manage patients with chronic conditions (see box below).

'Looking across a range of long-term conditions – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, COPD – initial analysis suggests that less than 50% of patients eligible for treatment were receiving optimal treatment for their condition.'

GPs involved in the care of patients with long-term conditions reacted angrily to the comments.

Dr Richard Rigby, a GPSI in diabetes in Loftus, North Yorkshire, said the accusations were 'unconstructive'.

'People normally have more than one condition and primary care remains the best place to take a holistic approach to all of these conditions. To say primary care is failing is an oversimplification of how difficult these patients are to manage.'

Dr Mark Levy, chair of the General Practice Airways Group and a GP in Kenton, Middlesex, said improving the care of patients with COPD needed leadership from the Government.

'It starts with a central plan, Department of Health downwards, and then things would happen. If you were to point any fingers then you would point them at the Department of Health.'

But Dr Rubin Minhas, a GP in Gillingham, Kent, and CHD lead for Medway PCT, said he agreed that there was more to be done to manage long-term conditions in primary care.

'There's still opportunity for more improvement. We need to look at care pathways and how they integrate with clinical practice and guidelines.'

Dr Ruibn Minhas: opportunity to improve care of long-term conditions Dr Rubin Minhas: opportunity to improve care of long-term conditions

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