The assessment, differentiation and treatment of minor and potentially serious acute conditions are core skills of general practice. Up to two-thirds of primary care contacts are with patients who have acute problems. These consultations draw on wide-ranging expertise from diagnosis and judicious prescribing, to communication and case management.
Related document: Managing acute illness
What did we explore?
To inform its work, the Inquiry panel commissioned a research project to examine what good-quality acute care in general practice looks like, and how it can be measured. Managing acute illness provides a framework for assessing the quality of the different types of acute care in general practice. The paper is written by a team from the Department of General Practice and Primary Care, King's College London: Professor Roger Jones, Professor David Armstrong, Patrick White, Mark Ashworth and Marilyn Peters.
What have we learnt about general practice and acute illness?
In March 2010 the Inquiry held a seminar on the management of acute illness with participants including GPs, practice nurses, NHS executives, health academics and patient representatives.
Key issues raised in discussion include:
- Does a regular clinical audit or significant events analysis by a general practice improve the quality of acute care?
- Should the location in which the acute care takes place be a marker of quality, given the national agenda of care closer to home?
- Are there ways to use routinely collected primary care data to measure the quality of acute illness management?