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Hunt: Contract reforms next year will mean 'fundamental change to the role of GPs'

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said his planned reforms to the GP contract will result in a ‘really fundamental change to the role of GPs’.

Mr Hunt made the statement at a King’s Fund conference on the care of older people on Tuesday, making it clear that the new GP role as ‘named clinician’ will be written into the GP contract.

As previously reported by Pulse, Mr Hunt expects GPs to coordinate the care of England’s elderly on a patient-by-patient basis from next April.

Speaking on Tuesday, he said this ‘proactive’ approach would make a big difference to GPs’ working days but that he hoped the changes would ‘simplify rather than complicate’ general practice.

Mr Hunt said: ‘The first thing is that we have to change primary care from being reactive to being proactive, and that means a really fundamental change to the role of GPs.’

‘What I really want to see is a GP who is responsible, via his or her contract, to provide thorough support to the frail, elderly and vulnerable.’

‘But it isn’t just about ticking a box… it is about giving the GP autonomy to deliver a care plan. That is a big change.’

Justifying his plans, Mr Hunt said that he was aiming to free GPs from bureaucratic targets and let them return to being ‘traditional family doctors’.

‘The reality in the GP surgeries that I have been to is that they are rushed off their feet,’ he said. ‘Their ability to deliver proactive care has really been taken away from them… with QOF and DES and LES, that micromanages every second of the GP’s day, and I think we need to think about whether that is getting the most out of 35,000 people in general practice.’

He added: ‘In many ways GP surgeries seem to beat to the same rhythm as A&E departments in that they are basically trying to get through all the people in their surgery.’

‘I think it will be a simplifying change rather than a complicating change.’

In the same speech, Mr Hunt also highlighted that progress was being made towards his 2018 goal of the ‘paperless’ NHS, starting with the sharing of electronic patient records.

He said: ‘I have been promised by NHS England that by the end of next year, a third of A&E departments will have access to GP records, a third of ambulance services will be able to access GP records, and a third of 111 call handlers will be able to access GP records.’

All these measures will form part of Mr Hunt’s ‘vulnerable older people’ plan’, which he said would be published before the end of 2013. But he promised that his reforms would not end there.

He said: ‘I don’t think it will all be rolled out in one year, I think it will take several years to do it.’

Readers' comments (34)

  • ‘What I really want to see is a GP who is responsible, via his or her contract, to provide thorough support to the frail, elderly and vulnerable.’

    Translation: 'I want someone to blame'


    'But it isn’t just about ticking a box… it is about giving the GP autonomy to deliver a care plan. That is a big change.’

    Yeah, that's a change from ticking a box to filling out a long form. That's really transformational!
    ‘The first thing is that we have to change primary care from being reactive to being proactive'

    Consequence: If you are ill, there will be no-one who can see you.

    ‘Their ability to deliver proactive care has really been taken away from them…
    ........but didn't you just say..?

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  • Here's an idea Jeremy - don't invent more things for us to do. Take some things away, and we will get on with what we should be doing.

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  • The idea that creating care plans and monitoring and reviewing 'well' but frail and elderly people will prevent illness is naive, stupid and just plain wrong!

    It was claimed widely by politicians that the advent of the NHS would make us all healthier and reduce our needs for health care. That is now be seen as a foolish and naive assumption.

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  • This is ludicrous, aiming to simplify rather than complicate, this is once again a political hot cake which will change radically once govt changes again. I call this the YOYO phenomenon!!!

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  • 'a third of A&E departments will have access to GP records, a third of ambulance services will be able to access GP records, and a third of 111 call handlers will be able to access GP records.’

    just be really sure that you want you most personal medical history, TOP, STD treatment after that holiday fling, etc. available to all these people...

    I once asked the Labour govt spokesman if Leo Blair's vaccination records would be on the then-planned national record, and after several evasions he admitted there would be a special category for important people, kept extra-secret.

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  • He will cut QOF along with payments and use part of the savings to fund partially the handing back of OOH and extended opening to the GPs who are left.

    I imagine there will be an exodus of 50+ year olds who can take VER and a resignation of partners not willing to have the new contact imposed on them who can then cherry pick locum work of their choice and on their terms.

    Young doctors should keep well away or use the NHS to train them then emigrate.

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  • Set up 'free' surgeries where communities can decide on how they spend NHS money to suit their own community needs.
    After all that's how parliament works. Promote someone who knows nowt about health, to mangle it with reforms. then move them on as it fails to improve anything.
    Be brave Mr Hunt and change nothing for a year or 2. What is good will be proved good, what needs tweeking will be and what is failing will be obvious. Then we can refrorm with vigor , evidence and purpose- AND we're likely to be in agreement.

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  • Sexual Health Records [GUM] are excluded, and are seperate to main medical records, also anonymous if patient chooses.
    So please do attend after your holiday fling , better still use condoms and reduce the risk and anxiety.
    Your information is secure , exception if any child safeguarding issues.

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  • Very rarely would having fully accessible records in A+E etc make any difference to patient management that couldn't wait until a phone call next working day and how many of those do you currently get?

    Let me think......... Hardly any!!!!

    What would be the cost ? Let me think..........billions!!!


    Which computer software company should I buy shares in?

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  • I think it may be worth buying shares in all of them, everyone will get a piece of this pie...except the patients who won't see any improvements...but they're not relevant here. The obsession with free markets continues.

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