Britain should adopt the Dutch model of elderly care, with teams of nurses put in charge of communities, the health secretary has said.Matt Hancock said the system could offer “wraparound care” to patients in their own homes, which was cheaper and better quality than traditional ways of working.Under such schemes, groups of a dozen nurses take responsibility for home care of around 50 patients in a neighbourhood, instead of GPs being in charge of co-ordinating their care.The model, pioneered in Buurtzorg in the Netherlands, means more patients can be kept healthy and out of hospital, while avoiding repeated visits to local doctors.Mr Hancock told a conference of GPs that he wanted to see new ways of working, which were better for patients and helped to reduce pressures on staff. The Health Secretary said there were now record numbers of GPs in training, with a 10 per cent increase on last year, with goals to expand numbers by 5,000.But he said other changes were needed to respond to growing demand from an ageing population.Mr Hancock said the  Dutch model gave more responsibility to nurses, working in “small self-governing teams” and more support to patients, who got more help at home.“We must learn from the best, both nationally and around the world,” he told the National Association of Primary Care Conference in Birmingham.“We need to look at places where people have got this shift of resources right, and managed to rebalance the system between primary and community care on the one hand and secondary care on the other. Like Buurtzorg in the Netherlands.“People have talked for years about wrap-around care. With Buurtzorg that is happening. Compared with other models, the Dutch model delivers higher-quality care at a lower cost. I want to see it grow.”Jos de Blok, chief executive of Buurtzorg, has estimated that up to half of patients in hospital could be served and monitored at home if they received the right care and proactive management.Under the schemes, nurses not only provide medical services, but also dress and bathe patients, so they do not have to see a succession of different types of care staff. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.

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