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GPs should not have to ‘scratch and barter’ for heart care resources

Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI) at the recent Irish Cardiology Society (ICS) Scientific Sessions 2016, Prof McDonald said: “At the moment, approximately 40 per cent of HF patients never see a specialist and receive their care in the community. But their care should be provided predominantly in the community, as long as there is well-structured access to specialists for certain defining periods in the life cycle.”

On the issue of GPs managing these patients in the context of increasing time pressures and a growing elderly population, Prof McDonald added: “The way we are delivering care — the 20th Century way — has to change and that’s not just saying glibly, ‘the GP has to engage more with the specialist’ or ‘more chronic disease has to be handled in the community’,” he told MI. “Those are easy things to say, but there are very clear resource demands behind that.

“If you are going to ask the GP to handle more, the GP needs to be properly resourced. I’m not simply talking about being properly paid for the interaction, but also the allied resources to handle chronic disease in the community need to be readily available. GPs should not have to scratch and barter for these resources, they should be there.

“Also, the interaction between primary and secondary care almost needs to be revolutionised….”

Meanwhile, Prof Kieran Daly, Consultant Cardiologist, University Hospital Galway, delivering a talk on progress in the HSE’s Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) Programme, for which he is the Clinical Lead, commented that “data collection remains a bugbear. To have a high-quality system is fine but in each unit, you need an individual with sole responsibility in terms of data collection”.

See pages 36-44 for full coverage of the meeting.

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