GPs Refusing to Visit Elderly Care Home Residents
Experts react to news that doctors are either denying elderly nursing home patients access to medical treatment that should be provided for free on the NHS.
An investigative report carried out by the BBC has found that some doctors refuse to visit care home residents, preferring to diagnose patients over the phone.
The report also found that some care home owners are required to pay doctors thousands of pounds a year for ‘enhanced services’, despite the fact that many of these services should be provided by the NHS.
The situation has been condemned by residents’ family members, care home owners and legal experts alike, with the British Medical Association admitting that the standard of care provided in care homes could vary.
Debbie Dean, daughter of care home resident Cecil Dean, told the BBC that she had struggled to get a doctor to visit her 71 year old father, who was suffering with pneumonia.
In the space of three months, on three separate occasions the GP had either refused to visit the patient or had reluctantly made a visit.
Ms Dean told the BBC: “To me, the doctor couldn’t be bothered to come out and see the patient - he would rather prescribe over the phone rather than actually come and see him”.
Simon Thompson, managing director at Manchester-based care home claims experts Precision Claims, said “Such a low standard of care from GPs is completely unacceptable.
“When we place our family members in care homes the decision is based on expectations about the level of care they will receive, so when details like this emerge we feel betrayed.
“A care home resident should expect to receive the same standard of care as a person living independently.”
A representative from the English Community Care Association, Martin Green, believes that up to a third of care home residents could be currently denied access to the full range of GP services.
Mr Green said: "There are islands of good practice in a sea of bad practice. If you are paid to do a job, you should be doing it.”
The doctor responsible for Mr Dean’s care has since retired, and refused to comment when contacted by the BBC.
Precision Claims specialises in helping the families of care home residents and residents themselves pursue compensation for negligent treatment in care homes. Visit http://www.precisionclaims.co.uk for more information about the full range of legal services the firm provides or call 0844 704 1945 for a free enquiry today.
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- Precision Claims
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