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GPs ‘are reducing pressure on hospitals’

Rising standards in general practice have helped to relieve pressure on hospitals, a new study suggests.

Research by the Centre for Health Economics in York concludes that improved management of chronic diseases in primary care does not increase hospital costs, as has been feared in some quarters, and may drive costs down.

It found that for conditions such as stroke, improved management did appear to have eased pressure on hospitals, through reducedemergency admissions, elective admissions or outpatient visits.

The report concludes: ‘The results do offer solid grounds for believing improvements in primary care disease management do not increase hospital costs, and for at least some conditions, better management materially reduces hospital costs.'

Dr Johnny Marshall, chair of the National Association of Primary Care, told Pulse: ‘What we need to do now is look to the future and if we are going to get beyond modest change in some conditions we really need to become more pro-active, more preventative and more effective by investing in services at a local level.'

'This research shows we have a good platform but we need to be more radical. In particular we need to push the link between primary and social care further. We know that end of life care in particular is extremely expensive and we have to find ways of integrating much further.'