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New research to guide GPs on multi-morbidity

The study was carried out by the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research at RCSI’s Department of General Practice, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of Dundee. It was published in the BMJ.

The study recommends providing continuity of care with one named GP where possible, prioritising the aspects of care that matter most to patients, and providing regular reviews of prescriptions.

Patients with multi-morbidity often need polypharmacy, visit many different healthcare providers, are admitted to hospital more frequently and are more likely to experience mental health and physical functioning difficulties. Over 16 per cent of all patients have multi-morbidity and patients with multi-morbidity account for one-in-three GP consultations.

Current clinical guidelines tend to focus on single conditions.

Speaking on the publication of this study, lead author, HRB Research Fellow and GP lecturer, Dr Emma Wallace commented: “Managing patients with multiple chronic conditions is part of everyday practice for GPs, who take on the role of co-ordinating care for such patients who are often seeing many different specialists. This review highlights the importance of continuity of care, the prioritising of patient physical functioning and mental health, the value of clinical judgement and the need to adopt a multidisciplinary approach to care.”

The paper entitled, ‘Managing patients with multimorbidity in primary care’ can be viewed online on the BMJ website at http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h176

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