14:45 In more RCGP-related news, the college has today launched a quality improvement (QI) online tool to help practices with becoming more efficient, in general.
It said QI Ready will help practices to identify areas that work well and areas where GPs can make changes at a time when GP practice staff is stretched to the limit.
Developer Dr Mike Holmes, clinical lead for the RCGP, said: ‘Our QI Ready programme is accessible to all and free to members, and offers numerous benefits; it will encourage quality improvement at a practice level, it will support GPs through appraisal and revalidation, and it will get people thinking about simple initiatives that can really make a difference for patients.’
Current QI projects include Patient Safety, producing a ‘how to’ guide with examples of using quality improvement methods in primary care. In addition, they have created a cancer SEA Pilot, focussing on the use of Cancer Significant Event Analysis as a QI tool to improve patient outcomes and a safeguarding adults and children project that supports all GPs to develop skills in safeguarding vulnerable people, including those with protected characteristics.
In addition, a series of modules will also be available, the first of which has been already launched, featuring advice on ensuring improvement is successful, common pitfalls and advice on how to involve the whole practice in team initiatives.
Dr Holmes said: ‘It confirms the College’s commitment to continual improvement in general practice, in the best interests of GPs and patient care. We hope QI Ready will be helpful to all GPs, at all stages of their career and irrespective of where they are on the quality spectrum, as well as other members of the wider practice team.’
11:05 The RCGP has teamed up with charities CLIC Sargent and the Teenage Cancer Trust to create a new e-learning module to help GPs spot cancer in young people at an early stage.
The toolkit, which gives guidance on how to recognise warning signs in children and young people and advice on when to refer cases, was inspired by a CLIC Sargent report which found that around half of young people visited their GP at least three times before cancer was suspected.
Kate Lee, chief executive at CLIC Sargent, said: ‘We appreciate how difficult it can be to make a diagnosis of a rare cancer. This is why we want to ensure that doctors have all the information they need to help them make these diagnoses.’
Dr Richard Roope, RCGP cancer lead, said: ‘When you consider that GPs across the UK make in excess of 1.3m patient consultations every day, it brings home just how difficult identification of such a rare condition.
‘Any resources, such as this new e-learning course, to support us in the identification and appropriate referral of the disease is certainly welcome.’
09:15 More subtle signs of fatal secondary heart attacks are often missed, newspapers widely report this morning.
A study has found that one in six fatal attacks may be missed, even when patients arrive in a hospital setting.
The Telegraph writes that people are aware of typical signs like a crushing pain across the chest spreading down either arm, but even doctors are more likely to miss ‘subtle signs’ like fainting and shortness of breath.
Researchers from Imperial College London analysed hospital records of almost 450,000 NHS admissions involving heart attacks between 2006-2010. They found that for one in six of the total 135,950 heart attack deaths in England over the four years, the patient had been admitted to hospital up to four weeks before their death.
Despite this, their hospital record had no mention of heart attack symptoms.
Lead scientist Dr Perviz Asaria, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: ‘Doctors are very good at treating heart attacks when they are the main cause of admission, but we don’t do very well treating secondary heart attacks or at picking up subtle signs which might point to a heart attack death in the near future.
‘Unfortunately, in the four weeks following a hospital stay, nearly as many heart attack deaths occur in people for whom heart attack is not recorded as a primary cause, as occur after an admission for heart attack.’