Intended for healthcare professionals


Better training is needed to deal with increasing multimorbidity

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 11 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3336
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Patients with multiple health problems are the norm not the exception, and the NHS is not set up to treat them properly, concludes a study carried out in Scotland. Most healthcare, research and education focuses on single diseases while many patients have several, and a new strategy is needed. Financed by the Scottish government’s Chief Scientist Office and published in the Lancet, the study was led by Bruce Guthrie of Dundee University and Stewart Mercer and Graham Watt of Glasgow University. They used a dataset covering 314 medical practices in Scotland, representing 1.75 million patients, and extracted data on 40 morbidities, working out how many patients were diagnosed as having one, two, or more.

Although multiple morbidities are recognised as being more common among older people, the team found that there were more in absolute terms in those under …

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