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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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