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Doctors 'refuse' to visit care homes

12th March 2012

According to an investigation carried out by the BBC, some GPs are failing to visit care home patients and are instead offering them a diagnosis over the phone.

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Care home records reviewed by the BBC showed one doctor did not visit or "reluctantly" visited a patient with pneumonia on three occasions.

Martin Green, from the English Community Care Association, who represent the owners of care homes, told BBC Radio 5 Live that he believed that a third of care home patients might not be getting the entire spectrum of care they should be provided with by the NHS.

He explained: "There is really bad practice out there. We have got to get out of the habit of saying 'there's some good practice.'"

"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. If we had better quality of care, then older people wouldn't get into crisis and end up in A&E." 

He added that many care homes said they did not get visits from NHS staff that they had asked for, such as physiotherapists for stroke patients.

Mr Green said it was evident that in some parts of the country people in care homes were not being afforded the full range of care as people who lived "in the community".

Data published in a report by the Care Quality Commission showed that people in care homes had problems gaining access to GPs.

A tenth of care homes were found to have to pay GPs in order to get them to see patients and just 38% of homes received "regular" visits from GPs. 

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