Following today’s news that GP representatives of the British Medical Association have voted for a change in contractual arrangements, which may adversely affect their provision of services to care home residents, BGS President Professor David Oliver has made the following comments on behalf of the Society:
“We are very supportive of our GP colleagues in drawing attention to a major crisis in the recruitment, training and retention of GPs. We acknowledge that GP consultations have risen year on year, and that around 90% of the work of the NHS is done in primary care for less than 9% of the NHS budget.
However, we would oppose removing a duty of care for care home residents from the GMS contract without first putting in place robust alternative arrangements to ensure that no resident is denied access to proactive and responsive primary and community health care services.
There are over 400,000 people living in nursing and residential homes in the UK. They generally have very complex health and care needs, which require skilled support not just from doctors, but from a range of other health and care professionals.
Under the terms of the NHS Constitution, the Equality Act and the current GMS contract, these older people are entitled to the same level of access to a full range of health and care services as all other citizens. This is not simply about respecting older people’s rights: it is also the right thing to do for our highly pressurised health and care systems.
We must ensure that care home residents can continue to access the health care services they need. We call on the BMA and GPs to ensure that, in protecting the future sustainability of their services, they do not classify care home residents as anything less than full members of society, with the same healthcare entitlements as the rest of us.”