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GPs need free time to help elderly in the community, says Hunt

The health secretary has said he wants to ‘free up’ GPs’ time so that they can devote more hours to helping frail older people.

Speaking at the Nuffield Trust’s Health Policy Summit 2013, Jeremy Hunt called on GPs to take a greater role in helping frail elderly people in the community. However, he gave no indication about how he intended to free up this time.

He said: ‘We need to free up GP time to play more of a role in looking after the frail elderly before they end up walking through the surgery door. We need to help people with long term conditions so that their problems are not left until they reach tipping point and they are taken to A&E.’

The Government announced a controversial new dementia DES in December as part of its proposed contract changes, which will compel GPs to screen elderly patients for the signs of dementia.

However, the BMA has criticised the policy, claiming it is unsupported by evidence and is contradictory to NICE and National Screening Committee policy.

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