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King’s Fund report criticises GPs on co-morbidity care

By Lilian Anekwe

A report prepared as part of the long-running King's Fund inquiry into general practice has criticised GPs' ability to manage patients with long-term conditions, particularly those with complex co-morbidities.

It warned the quality of care for chronic conditions was ‘variable' and that those with multiple long-term conditions ‘tend to get poorer treatment than others'. Researchers compared patient care with clinical evidence and best-practice guidance in arthritis, dementia, depression and diabetes.

The management of arthritis and diabetes was particularly criticised, with arthritis care described as ‘currently highly variable and sub-optimal' with a ‘high degree of variability in performance'.

They recommended 15 quality markers for measuring quality of care, including emergency admissions, length of stay, provision of supported self-care schemes and practice-level satisfaction surveys.

Dr Brian Karet, a diabetes GPSI in Bradford and the RCGP's clinical lead for diabetes, said there was variation, but the situation was improving.

He said: ‘The RCGP is well aware of it, and is trying very hard to address it with high quality guidelines.'