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GPs in emergency departments ‘do not reduce admissions’

Having GPs and primary care nurses working in hospital emergency departments does not appear to drive down costs or reduce inappropriate admissions, according to a report funded by the Department of Health.

The Primary Care Foundation report Primary Care and Emergency Departments found that when a consistent definition of all attendances was applied, the proportion that could be classified as primary care was between 10% and 30%. This contrasts with widespread assumptions that up to 60% of patients could be diverted to GPs or primary care nurses.

National director for primary care Dr David Colin-Thomé said: ‘The report emphasises the importance of aligning financial incentives, allowing clinicians to focus on what is right for the patient. When planning these initiatives commissioners should look at the whole urgent care system and the full patient pathway, not emergency departments in isolation.'