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Experts call for specialist medical teams for rapidly ageing society

A Newcastle University study has shown that people over the age of 85 are more likely to consult their GP for their medical needs. By the age of 90, most primary care consultations are with a GP.

The findings, published in BMJ Open, indicate that it is essential current and future GPs are appropriately skilled, and supported by specialist geriatric colleagues, to improve patient outcomes and help primary care services cope with this workload.

Growing concern

Experts say these findings add weight to growing concerns that the NHS primary care system will struggle to meet the medical needs of a rapidly ageing population, particularly as the number of family doctors fall. 

Louise Robinson, Director of Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, and Regius Professor of Ageing, led the Newcastle 85+ study into this research area.

She said: “Our society is rapidly ageing. The fastest growing sector of our population is the very old and there is increasing concern about the impact this will have on the NHS.

“Our study has looked specifically at healthcare by the very old, those aged over 85. It showed that the majority of their care falls on GP not hospital services.

“This is particularly worrying as this group requires a complexity of care which GPs may not be trained in at a time when the NHS is under increasing strain.  

“It is essential that current and future GPs are appropriately skilled, and adequately supported by specialist colleagues, as the main healthcare provider for a rapidly ageing society with complex and challenging needs.”

To read the full article please visit the Newcastle University website.

Published on 27 February 2018

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