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The Benefits of being 'Gold Patients' - Keri Thomas, Tom Tanner, January 2020


The Gold Standards Framework (GSF) is a framework used by many GP practices, care homes and hospitals to enable earlier recognition of patients with life-limiting conditions, helping them to plan ahead to live as well as possible right to the end.


Since it was introduced in 2004, most GP practices have a palliative care or GSF register on which they include patients who are seriously ill and they consider might be in their final stage of life (years, months, weeks or days), and they hold regular meetings with other doctors and nurses in their team to discuss how best to provide care for them. Many hospitals and care homes have similar ways of providing care, especially those that have undertaken GSF training and are GSF accredited (see for details).

In some parts of the country, they use GSF in several settings, which improves coordination of care and helps in the sharing of information across sites - there are the GSF Cross Boundary Care sites (see  In many practices and areas of the country the patients they identify are called GSF or ‘gold’ patients, they are given a gold card, in some cases a gold folder wtih important and useful information about available services and their electronic notes are shared. This helps everyone know that the 'gold' patients should be prioritised to ensure they receive more speedy care, and in some areas they also receive specific benefits including access to a  specific support phone line (for example the Goldline in Airedale) though the level of support does vary across the country with each area, and  practice.

For most people however, whether your GP uses GSF or 'gold' cards or not, there are 3 things that people can do;

  1. Discuss this with your GP and clarify with them whether the would consider including you on their GSF/palliative care register, whether they use gold/GSF cards or another kind of alert to ensure others including out of hours providers know that you have particular needs or a serious life-limiting illness.  It will also provide an opportnity to discuss your wishes, like whether you would want to be admitted to hopsital, where you would like to be cared for. 
  2. Discuss your wishes with your family
    For example you could watch the 5 steps to advance care planning video or You Tube film - GSF Advance Care Planning - and discuss your wishes and preferences with your family and record this, for example using an advance care plan, (an example is the GSF Thinking Ahead Document
  3. ACP/Thinking Ahead which you then could discuss with your GP or others caring for you.
  4. Tell others - Make sure that if you go to hospital or need out of hours care, that others know about your wishes and preferences.

We are not able to go into the particular details of any specific patients' clinical care, but if there are any other queries related to GSF do contact us.


Updated: 9/4/2018