GPs under fire over extra fees charged to care homes

One-third of GPs are charging charitable care homes extra fees
for looking after residents, a report from a group of charities
published last week reveals.

While two-thirds of GPs offer primary care to older residents
within the allowances they receive from the NHS to care for
residents, the remainder charge extra for many of the same
services. For example, while 80 per cent of GPs gave the winter flu
jab free of charge, 20 per cent said homes had to pay for it as it
was a contracted service.

GPs can charge care homes retainer fees to provide services
above and beyond core NHS services. These fees are paid from a mix
of subsidies from charities and charges on individual

The charities’ report found that while the average retainer was
£41 per person, in some cases this soared to £150.

The survey covered sheltered housing, nursing homes and
residential care. It was carried out by charities including Help
the Aged and the Alzheimer’s Society.

They are calling for the government to come up with a clearer
definition of what constitutes core NHS services so that older
people are not charged twice in future.

In response, Dr Andrew Dearden, chairperson of the British
Medical Association’s community care committee, said that in 19 out
of 20 authorities there is no NHS provision for extended services
and GPs are left with few options.

Fees Paid to GPs for Services to Residents of Care
Accommodation for Older People 2000-1
from Association of
Charity Officers on 01707 651777.

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