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Hot topic: Better care for older people

Professor Sir Peter Rubin, Chair of the GMC, discusses the GMC’s latest campaign and online resource

Older patients have told us they don’t want to be treated differently because of their age. They want to be treated as individuals, feel they are being listened to by their doctor and have the opportunity to ask questions. We want everyone to receive good care and this is why we are working in partnership with organisations such as the British Geriatrics Society and Age UK to ensure that older patients receive the care they deserve.

To achieve this we have produced a new online resource to support doctors caring for older people. The resource gives practical advice showing how existing GMC guidance can be used to support doctors. It includes interactive case studies, articles and tips to prepare doctors for caring for the growing numbers of older patients. There are in fact currently 15,000 people in the UK aged over 100 and the over 65s make up over two-thirds of NHS patients.

The content will be regularly updated with fresh topics and personal perspectives from leading clinicians and others working in the field. One article by Dr Adam Gordon of the British Geriatrics Society reflects on a recent experience that shows the importance of involving a person’s family and carer in decisions about their end-of-life treatment.

Doctors can also download a reflections record. This will help them to think about what they have read and identify specific areas of skills and experience they may want to improve when treating older people. Doctors can use this for their appraisal and revalidation portfolios.

We welcome people’s feedback on the resource and if there is information you would like to see included make sure to let us know. We want to make it as useful to doctors as possible so please send us your suggestions and comments via the website and help us to support doctors to give the best possible care to older patients.