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GMC develops new online resource to help doctors better treat the aged

A new online resource has been launched to better equip doctors for the challenges around the day-to-day care of older patients.

The resource, Better care for older people, developed by the General Medical Council, has been designed to offer practical advice from leading clinicians on how to put older patients first.

It also deploys a range of the Council′s specific guidance on how best to handle the clinical, emotional and psychological needs of this growing group of NHS users.

This guidance encompasses a mixture of documentation, case studies, scenarios, articles and tips, says the Council, which says it produced the online help to address fears from some older patients such as feelings of being ‘pushed aside′ because of their age, all the way to the importance of regularly seeing the same clinician if possible.

The site was built in collaboration with a range of partner organisations, including the British Geriatrics Society and Age UK.

‘Stimulate discussion′

For Professor John Young, NHS England′s National Clinical Director for the Frail Elderly, the site is a welcome addition to the tools being offered by health service professionals.

“Doctors must be prepared to play their part in a modern health care system that provides skillful, compassionate and joined-up care for people who have a multitude of health conditions.”

Increasing age brings the twin threats of multiple long-term conditions, Young pointed out, noting that the majority of people over 70 have two or more chronic conditions, along with a greater risk of frailty, which affects one in ten people over 65 and up to half of UK residents over 80.

Over 65s also now represent over two thirds of NHS patients in the UK, says the Council whose Chief Executive Niall Dickson said: “We hope these learning materials will stimulate discussion and help to support doctors working with older people.”

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