Niall Dickson is Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, sets out how the professional regulator is responding to the needs of doctors when treating older patients. Follow the GMC at @gmcuk
Healthcare is very largely a business for the treatment and care of older people. This is a reality to which not many of us have really woken up.
While there is much talk of long-term conditions and co-morbidities, much of health service delivery and the public’s perception of what an effective healthcare system should be doing remains focused on heroic interventions, lives saved, and patients cured.
We bear some responsibility for this, as the regulator with responsibility for setting educational and professional standards. We have certainly overseen practice which has struggled to adapt to the different needs of a different generation of older people. All too often older people fall through the cracks of organisational and professional silos. We will always need specialist care but we also need to reinvent the generalist physician with the status and authority to co-ordinate care and treatment, and ensure that sufficient attention is given to patients’ mental health and well-being alongside their physical health. Continue reading