All care home residents are entitled to free care from a GP, and
homes should not be required to pay a retainer fee, according to
updated guidance from the department of health, writes
It said that “all residents of care homes can expect the
full range of personal medical services and the same rights of
access to primary care as any other patient group”, and that,
as for everyone else, the “service is free at the point of
It adds that GPs should not charge care home residents for flu
immunisation jabs because immunisation of people with asthma,
diabetes and those over the age of 65 is provided free of charge by
However, the guide for care home managers adds that it is not
unusual for a care home to contract for services that the NHS does
not normally need to provide to patients on an individual basis.
Examples of such services include the safe management and control
of medicines and the occupational health of the home’s
Andrew Dearden, chairperson of the British Medical
Association’s community care committee, said that it was
illegal for doctors to ask homes to pay them to treat NHS patients,
but that it was not illegal to receive retainers to provide non NHS
services for the home’s benefit.
He added that any doctors who claimed they would not take on
patients unless they were given money were “sailing very
closely to the wind”.