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    Ron Batagol

    Included in the stated roles of the Primary Care Networks are to include helping general practices to assist patients in avoiding hospital admissions and commissioning clinical services for population health issues such as chronic disease and mental illness.

    Now,we all know that poorly-managed and “poorly health-educated” people with chronic health problems are on a continuous treadmill between emergency departments and often ward admission of hospitals to be reviewed,stabilised and then sent back to their community to “manage” until the next crisis inevitably occurs, and that this is a very expensive exercise for the health system,and a poor use of scarce hospital facilities with less than optimum health outcomes for these patients.

    So, as I have suggested many times in different forums, why not try to explore a way of managing these patients within the community and avoiding hospital admissions, by providing extra ongoing training and facilities within the local communities to medically manage these chronic patients in their own environment, and educate them on health and lifestyle issues relevant to their chronic conditions.

    As I’ve suggested, this could include funding for periodic education/training of doctors, nurses , pharmacists and other health professionals in selected areas relating to their expertise, eg. emergency,critical care, cardiac, oncology etc., and creating ” primary care multi-disciplinary management hubs” , located within selected existing medical facilities.

    Such facilities would obviously work closely with ambulance and para-medic services. Yes, it would be medically-driven, (and also multi-disciplinary) but that’s how multi-disciplinary teams have effectively worked within hospitals for many years.

    I would suggest that the new Primary Care Networks could provide an opportunity for setting up such community-based systems, and so more effectively managing chronically-ill patients in a much more cost-effective manner with far better health outcomes, whilst freeing up hospital facilities.

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