Tag Archives: RCGP

C4CC welcomes new standards to be adopted for letters to outpatients

Hospital consultants will be encouraged to write clear, easy to understand and jargon-free letters directly to people and copied to their GPs, instead of the other way around, under proposals recently approved in principle by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) and championed by the Coalition for Collaborative Care (C4CC).

The AoMRC has been tasked with leading a programme of change to encourage and support clinicians across all disciplines to adopt this as good clinical practice and to incorporate it formally within the training curricula of both undergraduate and postgraduate doctors.

C4CC has long campaigned for this vital change, replacing the current practice of consultants writing to an outpatient’s GP, and referring to patients in the third person.

C4CC co-chair Nigel Mathers, the Honorary Secretary of the RCGP, said the plans had gained widespread support from doctors, including the Royal College of General Practitioners, and patient organisations.

“This will be a personal letter to you, with your GP copied in, who will also be supplied with more detailed technical information, which can also be discussed with you,” he said.

“It’s a big cultural change and naturally will take time to become standard practice because it requires training and a different way of thinking for all doctors, but the new policy framework is an important step in the right direction.”

Katie Clarke-Day, who works with NHS England and C4CC on projects to improve the lives of people, like her, with multiple long term conditions, said she had long advocated for more personalised communication between doctors and their patients.

“It may seem like a small change, but it is hugely important, particularly for people with long term conditions,” she said.

“It’s about relationship building with the people who are keeping you alive and trust is really important.

“From the start, from the very first letter that you receive, you should have all the information that you need, in plain English, so you can take ownership of your treatment and get the appropriate support,”

Making sure the right information is always included in outpatient letters is the first step.

New guidelines to help professionals do just that were published by the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) last summer.

Their new guidelines encourage professionals to produce consistently high quality letters.

“Many more people are treated in outpatient clinics including people with complex health and care needs so it is really important that outpatient letters are clearly written and contain the right information for hospital staff, GPs and teams looking after people in the community,” said Lorraine Foley, CEO of the PRSB.

“Our standards help professionals share information. We are right behind the proposals to ensure that letters to patients are written in plain English so that everyone has a good understanding of a person’s health needs and most importantly that patients can take greater control of their care.”

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Personalised Care and Support Planning Handbook Launched

The Coalition for Collaborative Care and NHS England have launched a new handbook focusing on new ways of working to provide the best care for people with long term conditions.

The ‘Personalised Care and Support Planning Handbook’ is designed to spark new thinking amongst health and care practitioners about the best ways to locally implement personalised care and support planning.
The handbook provides practical support for local health systems hoping to introduce and sustain care and support planning at a local level and give people with long term conditions more control over their lives.

We know that evidence shows people living with long term conditions who have the opportunity to co-design their care within the wider context of their lives, have significantly better outcomes. Yet, just 5.4% of people living with such conditions in the UK report having an agreed care plan.

We have published this handbook which contains practical guidance, case studies and evidence in the hope that it will help health practitioners and commissioners understand how best to introduce personalised care and support planning.

The handbook complements a guide published by Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) and a short film published by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Professor Nigel Mathers, Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Chair of the Coalition for Collaborative Care said: “There is significant evidence which tells us that people who have personalised care and support plans self-manage their conditions much more effectively.
“There is improved monitoring of their health and care, fewer medical interventions are required and there is often less unnecessary use of medication.

“To make personalised care and support planning a reality for the 15 million people in the UK living with long term conditions requires significant changes in systems, relationships and services.
“We are committed to working with the coalition’s members and partners to create the conditions for these changes to take place. We whole-heartedly believe that personalised care and support planning sits at the very heart of person-centred, co-ordinated care.

“The handbook provides an introduction to personalised care and support planning so that individuals with key local responsibilities for the future of the health service can reflect and think innovatively about local approaches to implementation.” A copy of the handbook can be downloaded here.

David Paynton, one of the members of the Coalition’s Partners Group and National Clinical Lead for the RCGP Centre for Commissioning, talks about personalised care and support planning in practice in his recent blog post.

New resources available on care and support planning

Today, the Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) Partnership publishes new advice for councils on meeting Care Act 2014 requirements to ensure people, families and carers lead development of their own care and support plans.  This complements the care and support planning animation published by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) on Friday 16th January and the Coalition for Collaborative Care/NHS England handbook to be published later this week.

TLAP’s ‘Delivering Care and Support Planning’ has been developed with people who use services to show what good care and support planning looks like in practice.  It is backed up with examples from councils across England who are leading the way in this area. It describes the principles for what people want in a care and support planning process, the elements that need to be in place and recommendations for councils so they can be both Care Act compliant and person-centred in their approach.

The RCGP’s film brings care and support planning to life in a three-minute video animation, narrated by RCGP President ,Professor Mike Pringle.  It depicts a typical 10-minute GP consultation with a person who has multiple and complex illnesses and how care and support planning could lead to much better outcomes for everyone involved. The animation demonstrates how doctors can save time and improve health and social outcomes for people with long term conditions, noting the key role that carers, families and the wider community play in ensuring good person-centred care.

The guide & template support plans can be downloaded from the TLAP website here.

The animation can be viewed on the RCGP website or via  Youtube.