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Surgeries to be responsible for identifying lonely patients under Labour

28 January 2015

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GP surgeries will be responsible for conducting regular patient safety checks and identifying those at risk of loneliness claims Ed Miliband.

The Labour leader has pledged in his 10 year NHS plan that GPs will be responsible for identifying home hazards as well as helping patients access support to heat their homes as part of plans to reduce hospital admissions.

According to the plan, a similar scheme was tried in Cornwall which cut emergency admissions by 30%.

If elected in May, Labour’s plans for the NHS also include previous pledges to bring back the 48-hour GP appointment guarantee, recruit 8,000 additional GPs, and ‘restore’ the NHS’s values by scrapping competition law.

Deputy chair, of the General practitioners committee(GPC), Dr Richard Vautrey said the safety checks plan would only work if it did not add a further burden to overstretched GPs.

He said: “GPs are very aware of the impact of loneliness, it’s one of the reasons why some of their patients seem to make contact with the practice almost on a weekly basis.

“It’s one of the huge workload pressures on GPs, so we’re very much aware of the implications and impact it can have, and also how it can impact on others in the healthcare system. But actually dealing with it can be very difficult though, and in many cases individuals are reluctant to address the issues when solutions are offered.”