GPs will oversee social care for vulnerable patients under changes to their contracts announced today by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Family doctors will “case manage proactively” patients with complex needs by developing and regularly reviewing personalised care plans that will cover health and social care needs, under their contract for 2014-15.
Each vulnerable person will have a named accountable GP and care co-ordinator but it is not clear whether co-ordinators will come predominantly from the NHS or whether this could be a role for social workers.
Also, the relationship between GPs’ oversight of integrated care plans for people with complex needs and local authorities’ responsibility for their social care has not been set out.
Under other changes, care homes will be able to call GPs for advice on decisions about hospital admissions, and GPs would be asked to regularly review emergency admissions from care homes.
Hunt said the changes would prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital. “This is about fixing the long-term pressures on our A&E services, empowering hard-working doctors and improving care for those with the greatest need.”