Doctors prioritise care for the elderly

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Derbyshire doctors are gearing up for a major shake-up of the county’s health care - and have highlighted care for the elderly as a priority.

Health chiefs have decided what to prioritise to improve services within their limited budget - as the controversial overhaul of the NHS moves forward.

NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group has pledged to improve care for the frail and elderly, reduce unnecessary emergency hospital admissions and improving the quality of medical care in nursing homes.

Dr Stuart Saunders, of Dronfield Medical Practice and locality lead for the area, said: “I think many GPs are taking a pragmatic view of the reforms.

“The reforms are here, there is nothing we can do about that now, they have gone through parliament so we now must make the changes work for our patients.”

There are currently 141,700 people aged 65 and over who live in Derbyshire and 19,100 of which are over 85.

As people live longer there is an increasing demand for health care and the NHS is faced with major challenges.

Dr Saunders said: “Derbyshire has an aging population and hospitals are not always the best places to care for people. By caring for patients in the community it will free up services.”

He added: “We know there are concerns and the NHS is under tremendous cost pressures and we have to make efficiency savings.

“We are hoping to minimise the impact of financial constraints by working more efficiently and make sure all the different agencies are working together.”

North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group will take on responsibility for healthcare budgets next April.

Dr Richard Bull, deputy chair for NHS North Derbyshire CCG, said: “This is the first time that health plans have been put into place at a local level by GPs and clinicians who know their patients better than anyone.”