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GPs to be measured on managing transition of young people to adult care services

GPs will be measured on how well they support young people who are disabled or have long term health needs in their transition from child to adult care services, the CQC has said.

The chief inspector of primary care, Professor Steve Field, said GPs had a role to play in ensuring that young people do not fall through the gap between children’s services – which offer support for mobility, breathing or pain relief, among other things – and their adult versions, which often fail to provide the same support.

A new report from the regulator stresses that they will mark GPs down if they fail to provide the support these young people when the practices are inspected.

Professor Field said that hospital consultants need to work more closely with GPs to ensure that families are supported during the transition to using adult services.

The CQC’s report – which was based on interviews with 180 families and 23 inspections –  found that some GPs are left out of the loop because families rely mostly on secondary care until their children reach 16, but that GPs should become more involved at an earlier stage to plan for transition.

A CQC statement said: ‘As part of CQC’s new approach to inspection which will begin from October, CQC will investigate transition arrangements when it visits primary and community healthcare services. Its findings will be reflected in the overall rating – of outstanding, good, requires improvement, or inadequate – that CQC will award to services. These ratings will celebrate best practice and hold providers to account to make improvements.’

Professor Field said: ‘Despite plenty of guidance being available on what good transition planning and commissioning should look like there continues to be a significant shortfall between policy and practice. In particular, general practice has a role to play as the single service that does not change when a young person becomes an adult.’

NICE is currently developing guidance for health and social care professionals in helping families during the transition. Deputy chief executive Gillian Leng said: ‘For many young people on the cusp of adulthood, moving between health and social care services can be a tumultuous and stressful time.’

Care and support minister Norman Lamb said care for young people should not reach a ‘cliff edge’ at age 18, where services are suddenly not available to them.