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DH promotes integration model for chronic conditions

Better integration could boost care for 15 million people

Adrian O'Dowd

Tuesday, 02 August 2011

The government is urging the NHS to follow an innovative model of integration between GPs and other healthcare professionals which is helping to improve care for people with long-term conditions.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley is today meeting with clinicians in Kirklees in West Yorkshire to discuss their joined-up approach of sharing information on patients’ clinical needs.

Clinicians from the ambulance service, hospitals and GPs and nurses from Kirklees have been working together to identify patients who frequently use emergency services in order to help them manage their condition better and avoid unnecessary hospital visits.

The approach of sharing information has led to more tailored treatment and care options and electronic patient records allow these to be seen by any health professional treating the patient as well as saving emergency care plans, copies of which are given to patients to keep them informed.

The initiative, said the Department, has reduced ambulance trips by 16% and saved NHS Kirklees £1.09 million.

The Department said the NHS could help improve the care of over 15 million people living with long-term conditions and reduce the number of unnecessary trips to hospital if the most innovative work being pioneered in other parts of the NHS were adopted nationwide.

As well as helping patients manage their conditions better and reducing emergency episodes, new approaches to reduce ambulance call-outs by over 900,000 and hospital bed days by over 10.2 million could mean estimated savings of around £2.2 billion to reinvest in frontline patient care.

People with long-term conditions are some of the most frequent users of the NHS and currently account for half of all GP appointments, 64% of outpatient attendances, and 77% of all hospital bed days. 

In 2009-10, an estimated £70 billion of total health and social care expenditure was spent on patients with long-term conditions. 

Mr Lansley said: “We have a vital opportunity now to modernise the NHS. People with long-term conditions have some of the most complex health needs in the country and we need to personalise services to suit their needs, not fit them around how the NHS is organised. 

“We want clinicians to take the lead locally in developing health services so that they can support patients, to take decisions about their care and help them take charge of their health and the care they receive. With this approach, they will find new ways to tackle this problem for both the NHS and patients.”

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