GPs or community nurses will take on responsibility for older patients as their ‘named clinician’, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said today.
Speaking at an event to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the NHS, Hunt says it will create a “more personal service”.
The ‘named clinician’ would take full accountability for the patient’s care out of hospital, working as a “single point of information” for patients and relatives.
Hunt hopes the move will create better integrated and coordinated out of hospital care.
He said: ‘We need to know that there is a clinician accountable for vulnerable older people in the community just as there is a consultant responsible for them in hospital.
“As a member of the public I would like that to be my GP - but whoever it is they should be named so that patients, families and carers all know where the buck stops.”
The eight million people with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart disease need “radically different models of care” and could benefit from the plan, according to Hunt.
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “To sustain our NHS for the future, I believe we need a much stronger focus on joining up services around people’s lives, so that health and care services work more closely together, keeping people healthier and treating them closer to home.
Named clinicians for elderly patients with complex health needs will be in place from April 2014, with the proposals a key part of the next year’s NHS Mandate.
Hunt hopes that named clinicians would be available for every patient in due course, although he did not offer a timescale for this expansion of the scheme.