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Good quality healthcare for all will depend on better out of hospital care says Minister

Minister for Health The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP set out his vision for the future of primary care in the UK in a speech delivered to the King’s Fund on 12th September 2013.

The country needs a “profound reform” of out of hospital care in order for the NHS to survive, he said, and estimated it would be a four-year process, based on the four major groups of people the NHS has to look after: vulnerable older people; other people with long-term conditions who need help managing their condition; mothers and young children; and those of us who are normally healthy and well and need the NHS to help keep us that way.

Hunt said that whilst changes would be made to benefit all of these groups from next April, he had chosen to make vulnerable older people the primary focus for the next 12 months.

The Government is currently consulting on its Vulnerable Older People’s Plan, he said, but emerging results from that consultation suggest major reforms in three areas in particular: proactive primary care, including a named GP for all vulnerable older people; increased capacity for General Practice, with an additional 2,000 GPs being recruited and the proportion of new doctors entering general practice increased to 50%; and improved integration of the wider health and social care systems to ensure vulnerable older people receive proper continuity of care.

The final change that needs to be made to out of hospital care for vulnerable older people concerns electronic health records, said Hunt, so that records and care plans can be accessed in different parts of the system.