Extra special care for patients
MORE specialist services could be introduced at doctors' surgeries in Suffolk, once a new contract comes into play.Doctors will be able to decide which services they want to offer to patients, that they were unable to do before.
By Jessica Nicholls
MORE specialist services could be introduced at doctors' surgeries in Suffolk, once a new contract comes into play.
Doctors will be able to decide which services they want to offer to patients, that they were unable to do before.
It will mean some patients could be treated for specialist problems such as drug and alcohol abuse at their usual practice rather than having to go to a different clinic.
Under the terms of the new contract, all surgeries have to provide the essential services that they do now, covering the management and treatment of patients who are ill or believe they are ill. It also covers the management of terminal illness and chronic diseases.
However practices can now decide whether they want to provide enhanced services as well, for example help for people with Multiple Sclerosis, care for the homeless, and people with depression.
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The contract is being phased in and the first phase will begin at the end of April.
Practices will sign up to the contract with Ipswich Primary Care Trust rather than nationally, so services will be centred around local needs.
Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the PCT said: "Chronic disease management is a huge issue in Ipswich.
"There will be a much stronger focus on that in the county from GP's and primary care providers. The new contract will give GPs more flexibility."
Despite all the changes, Ms Rowsell said: "For patients, the first part of their care will remain the same. What may change is that more care may be provided in their own practice without being referred to another agency."
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