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Older People: Health Services

Volume 694: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

How they will ensure that vulnerable older people entering care homes continue to have access to primary and secondary health services. [HL4667]

Care home residents, like the rest of the population, are entitled to register with a general practitioner (GP) practice for the provision of their primary healthcare needs and where appropriate onward referral to secondary healthcare services. However, we acknowledge that there is an issue around GP practices removing care home patients from their list, following classification of their residential home as a private hospital. Residents who normally live in a hospital require a level of care and support that is usually higher than that normally provided through essential primary medical care.

The department is exploring this issue further to find out the extent of the problem and to identify local examples of good practice that have successfully resolved the problem. We are committed to developing guidance for the National Health Service, which will be discussed with the British Medical Association and care home representative organisations to ensure that all patients’ healthcare needs are appropriately met.