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19.04.18

Care beyond general practice too ‘fragmented’ for ageing population

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has called for more research and joined-up care for patents living with multiple long-term conditions.

An analysis by the college has indicated that the number of people living with more than one serious long-term condition is likely to increase to 9.1 million by 2025.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, explained that although it is a “testament to the NHS” that people are living longer, an ageing population means more complex, chronic illnesses.

GPs are on the frontline and are seeing more of this every day, she said, and they play a major role in looking after patients with multi-morbidities, but they often come up against barriers to the care of these patients.

“A lack of research, as this study highlights, into the extent of the crisis is one; another is understanding how best to treat patients living with both physical and psychological conditions – and having access to the most appropriate services to manage this in the community,” she continued.

Stokes-Lampard argued that beyond general practice care often focuses on single disease conditions, which she says “can be fragmented and simply doesn't work for patients living with more than one long-term illness who need individually-tailored treatment.”

She concluded: “As our patients live longer, they will inevitably do so with multiple, long-term conditions, and it's important steps are taken to address the issues highlighted in this report sooner rather than later.

“The RCGP has recently entered a collaboration with the Richmond Group of Charities and Guys and St Thomas's charity to establish a taskforce to investigate strategies and solutions to the multi-morbidity challenge.”

Top image: Suman Bhaumik

 

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