Care England expressed disappointment over a British Medical Association decision to cease caring for care homes residents. Professor Martin Green of Care England said:

"Residents of care homes should not be treated differently to those living in their home. GPs are a vital part of the care package in any care home and it is impossible to imagine residents receiving the care and attention they require without full access to primary care"

A BBC article by Nick Triggle commented: 

"These are among the frailest, most vulnerable members of society. Many are living with a complex range of conditions, including dementia, heart disease and diabetes... and yet they are going without the sort of basic health care most take for granted" 

Triggle quotes a CQC report that most of th 81 care homes surveyed reported that they didn't receive regular visits from a GP. He cites care homes being asked to pay £20,000 a year as'retainers' to get GPs to visit.

It is easy to throw our hands up in horror at these reported stories, but what is the reality behind them? The buzz word for health and social care right now is integration, combined with intensive efforts to keep people out of hospitals.

Both Triggle and Green call for the issue to be aired fully and to have an open discussion.

Maybe it is time to stop seeing care home residents as just so many more 'normal' patients linked to normal GPs and normal 'out of hours' cover. Maybe it is time to recognise the complex needs and complex solutions they require and explore better ways of providing care for them.

What is happening in the West? Care & Support West would like to know what is happening around GP care for members and would like to hear your views.  Follow the link to complete a short survey. Care&SupportWest_GPSupportSurve

General NewsLydia Walker