GPs should be bold and innovate, says NHS England

GPs should be bold and innovate, says NHS England

Mike Bewick (pictured) said GPs must make the most of opportunities to innovate, but he also called for greater collaboration with other professions such as pharmacists and those in social care.

He pointed out that progress and innovation over the past few decades in diagnosis and treatment of long-term conditions including diabetes, asthma and heart disease have greatly improved the lives of sufferers and their carers – and that there is good evidence that patient education, multidisciplinary working and patient-centred care reduce the rate of complications and hospitalisation and improve outcomes. Yet, he argued, one of the biggest challenges facing today’s NHS remains the management of complex health needs and long-term conditions.

Dr Bewick asked: “GPs know that sound management of long-term conditions is good for patients and is the most cost-effective approach. Where the patient is empowered and works with clinicians there is a safe level of self-care possible even in the most of complex conditions, so what’s the problem?”

He said some practices are making good progress on redesigning their working day and targeting resources to bring about improvements for people with long-term conditions.

He acknowledged that time pressures, competing priorities and pressures on resources are an issue, but asked why so many others are not making it their “number one priority” to improve continuity of care, and meet people’s needs through sustained reform to ensure that general practice provides a wider range of services, closer to people’s homes.

He went on: “GPs must be bold and take a leading role but we can’t rely on GPs to do this alone. Local health and wellbeing boards which bring together health, public health, social care and local leaders will be critical to success.”

He said that pharmacists, carers, social care and housing colleagues – who often spot quickly when health is deteriorating – as well as patients themselves, “must all work together as one system for the benefit of the patient to tackle problems where they surface”.

He ended: “The trick here will be to apply existing best practice and the latest evidence of effectiveness and roll it out an industrial scale for the benefit of every patient in every part of the country, all 15 million.”

By Louise Prime

On Medica, 3rd October 2013

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