Jeremy Hunt has outlined some changes the NHS will see over 2014 as a result of UK law reviews and changes to health legislation in the country.

In a New Year message to staff in the NHS, the Health Secretary said that one important theme in the NHS over the next 12 months will be for healthcare bodies to treat people “more holistically”.

One of the ways this will be accomplished is by providing people over the age of 75 with named GPs. This change to health and safety law will be rolled out in April 2014, and should ensure that people who are vulnerable and frail can be discharged to named GPs when leaving hospital and can access GP services.

This involved a UK law review that looked into the GP contract from 2004, which Jeremy Hunt said damaged the personal link between patients and GPs. However, the Labour Party said this accusation was “self-serving spin”, while British Medical Association’s GP Committee Deputy Chair Richard Vautrey said that in reality, the pressures on accident and emergency departments are due to more recent changes to GP contracts, rather than the 2004 contract.

Another of the moves Jeremy Hunt is taking is to encourage nursing staff to put the names of responsible nurses and consultants above every patient’s bed. This used to be the standard within the NHS, but when multi-disciplinary teams became more common as a result of UK health law reviews, this stopped occurring.

Mr Hunt said that while multi-disciplinary teams are important, sometimes people can feel like they are moved around without anyone taking overall charge of their health while they are in hospital. It is hoped that putting the names of responsible clinicians over patients’ beds will reverse this problem.

The Health Secretary also remarked on the successes hospitals across the UK have had during the recent festive period, remarking that while accident and emergency departments were busy, the country hit its health targets over the year. Although there were health and safety problems, such as power failures and flooding, ambulance services managed to respond to these issues quickly and appropriately. Furthermore, when part of London’s Apollo Theatre collapsed, the ambulance service managed to turn up to the scene in just three minutes, providing emergency medical treatment to 76 injured people on site.

Mr Hunt expressed his wish for staff in hospitals to think about how they can ensure a senior member of staff is looking out for a patient throughout their whole stay. He said that healthcare providers will have a range of different ways to deal with this challenge, advocating that close collaboration with the leaders in NHS Trusts is required if organisations are to achieve this goal.

Jeremy Hunt has said that he intends for the NHS to become less interested in “box-ticking targets” and is going to remove 40% of GP targets accordingly though UK law reviews and changes to UK employment law. He says this should ensure that people will receive personalised care.

Hellen  is a freelance blogger and journalist who works alongside a team of personal injury compensation solicitors to provide timely articles about compensation claims, health and safety and a range of other matters. She has had his work published across a huge range of different platforms and media.

Image by Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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