Practice Policies: Shared Care Agreements
This is a reminder to patients that Brunton Park Health Centre no longer accepts new Shared Care Agreements.
We jointly made this difficult decision last autumn with our neighbouring practices in North Gosforth and Jesmond Lower Gosforth Primary Care Networks.
Please note that if you have an existing Shared Care Agreement in place with us, this will continue.
Here are the details of why we have made this decision.
What are Shared Care Agreements?
Shared Care is when a Specialist asks a GP practice to take on responsibility for prescribing and monitoring medications usually only issued by Specialists. This might happen if you have been referred for a specific issue and a Specialist has made a diagnosis and put a treatment plan in place.
These agreements require all parties to accept shared care, and the ultimate responsibility for prescribing and monitoring remains with the Specialist.
Shared Care Agreements are not a ‘core’ part of our work in General Practice. By that, we mean they are not part of our NHS contract and not something we receive any additional support or resources to provide.
In 2023 we reviewed our Shared Care Agreement policy due to the growing number of requests we were receiving from an increasingly large number of providers.
These requests placed an increasing amount of work on our Practice team, and at times, this additional workload was impacting our ability to deliver our core services to patients.
We raised this with local NHS commissioners, evidencing the increasing scale of the issue and expressed that the current situation is unsustainable. Our concern was that, without adequate resources to deal with this increasing demand, we can’t continue to assure ourselves that patients are safely monitored to the highest standards of care.
Our core duty is to ensure we deliver the core ‘work’ of General Practice, maintaining appropriate acute and chronic disease management for our patients. With no support available for us to take on this additional work, we made the difficult decision to suspend taking on new Shared Care Agreements from the 1st October, 2023.
This is now standard policy for Brunton Park Health Centre and all our neighbouring practices in North Gosforth and Jesmond Lower Gosforth Primary Care Networks as well.
We will continue to engage with the Commissioners regarding our concerns. Whilst we do so, we will continue to honour agreements we have already signed up to.
What this may mean for patients
If there is already a Shared Care Agreement in place for your care, this will continue.
For patients with new treatment plans put in place by Specialists, responsibility for prescribing and monitoring your medication will remain solely with your Specialist. Rather than coming to the Practice for monitoring or reviews, you may be given an outpatient appointment at a hospital or other NHS location.
Examples of medication that may be affected:
|DMARD (commonly used for arthritis)
|‘High Risk’ medications
|Methotrexate (oral / injection)
|Valproate (in people of child-bearing potential 12-55y