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10th September 2013

Better care for older people outside hospitals needed - health secretary

UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for better care for older people outside hospitals.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, published yesterday (September 9), Mr Hunt said: "Looking after vulnerable people outside hospital is not just better value – it’s better health care."

Older people often feel there is no reliable alternative to hospital, Mr Hunt said in the article, as he called for improved care from GPs.

He blamed GP contract changes brought in by Labour in 2004 which he said had, "undermined the personal link between GPs and the people on their lists".

Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of GPs, responded saying the problem was "nothing to do with the contract".

"It's to do with the fact we are 10,000 GPs short," she said.

But Mr Hunt went on, "Critics are wrong to give up on the NHS. If we play to its strengths, the service can play a key part in making Britain one of the best countries in the world to grow old in.

"But only if we make one radical reform: a transformation of the way we look after people outside hospitals. All the international evidence is clear: prevention is cheaper than cure."


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