By Debbie le Quesne

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

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Earlier in the month, Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson posted a blog http://www.careinfo.org/?p=20214  and asked the question: Do GPs see residents as a soft option for rationed services?

Here’s my view . . .

Indeed, high quality care is needed more than ever before for our elderly and the option to bale out from such responsibilities is unthinkable.

Changes in the economy, political preferences and medical funding have each had their way of reshaping residential care in recent years. But what – quite literally is critical – is the escalating clinical need this people group require and, not least, our response to it.

As the name suggests, I recall my first encounters with social care as being much social than medical. Elderly people, in care homes were generally quite mobile, being cared for because they couldn’t manage safely on their own, or families could not commit to the support required.

In 20 years so much has changed and now a GP is, as Geoff says, “a key member of the team.”

Some of those residents back in the day, who would be categorised as requiring nursing care, are currently often found in residential homes all over the UK. The bar has been raised exponentially for qualifying for nursing care.

For example, applications for continuing NHS funding appear to be increasingly unsuccessful.

I am a realist and know there is just not enough money in the care system. However, I believe some morals are sacred and, not putting too fine a point on it, the law indeed upholds a duty of care. Our homes will not be allowed to leave residents without a registered GP.

These are the things that define us as being civilised and caring for our elders is one of them. To deny these worthy people the same primary medical intervention less demanding members of our communities have, is scandalous. You’re right, Geoff, there’s no justification.


Debbie Le Quesne CEO West Midlands Care Association

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