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Hunt: Let care homes access GP records

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Care homes should be able to access and update the GP records of their residents, the health secretary has said.

Speaking at the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Harrogate on Friday, Jeremy Hunt said he wanted to see “a system where residential care providers can access GP records and update how a person is so the GP can go round or send a practice nurse around”.

It was an example of the sort of joined-up working that “everybody wanted to see,” he said.

Mr Hunt said he did not support the introduction of national ratios for safe levels of staffing in care homes.

“The strong advice I’ve received is, it’s dangerous to have a national ratio because safe staffing varies depending on the level of need,” he said. “The danger is that everyone thinks, if they’ve met the number, that their staffing is safe when it might not be.”

Asked to comment on the poor pay and working conditions of some adult social care staff, Mr Hunt said this would be addressed through Care Quality Commission inspections.

“Staff who are happy and motivated and looked after well by their own employers are the best at looking after patients,” he said.

“The chief inspectors of hospitals and of social care will be looking at peoples’ experience of care. The motivation of the people that are looking after them will be crucial to that.”

Mr Hunt used his conference speech to highlight the problem of loneliness, saying there was a “forgotten million” lonely people in England who were “ignored to our national shame”.

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