Do GPs see residents as a soft option for rationed services?

Posted on February 15th, by geoff in CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

News that the GP committee of the British Medical Association has voted to discontinue services to care homes has raised a lot of eyebrows. Can GPs do this? Can they abandon a tranche of the population on the basis of their domestic living arrangements?

It’s a big question, but GPs have big problems; there are not enough of them and unless the shortage can be addressed effectively, their services are going to have to be rationed in some way. But I don’t think care home residents should be the sacrificial lambs.

A GP is a key member of the team in providing high quality care to frail elderly people with multiple morbidities and their services to care home residents are delivered very efficiently; there are few instances of GPs being called on unless their skills are truly needed. Contrast this with so many GP waiting rooms, full of waiting people, a good percentage of whom really don’t need to be there.

The waste of GPs’ time resulting from inappropriate self-referral is not an easy problem to address but that’s no justification for depriving care home residents of the primary care to which they are entitled.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

3 responses to “Do GPs see residents as a soft option for rationed services?”

  1. Bob Ferguson says:

    Can GPs do this? No, they can’t. And the vote was taken at a conference of Local Medical Committees (LMC), not the GPs committee of the BMA. In any case, what they are actually asking – and voted – for are “separate contractual arrangements” to be made for residents in care homes when the GP contract is renegotiated this year. I think that means more money, or more GPs or, preferably, both.

  2. Mike says:

    This plan seems to be a punitive infringement of peoples rights. After all, their preferred choice of where they live should be irrelevant.

    Perhaps the introduction of a telephone or physical triage nurse at GP surgeries would free up valuable GP time, as well as educate the public as to what the GP is actually there for.

  3. Roger Wharton says:

    GPs undertake home visits where the health of the individual prevents them from attending a surgery. Care Homes are peoples’ homes so home visits should be provided in the same way. To vote at LMC to change the basis for these visits is possibly short-sighted since there is actually greater economy in visiting care homes where there is a concentration of patients than single occupancy homes in the community. So, why would GPs need more money for this activity?!

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