GPs call for new contract over care home patients

BMA: Government Is Putting Politics Before the NHS

GPs have insisted they should no longer be obliged to look after thousands of care home residents.

Doctors on a British Medical Association (BMA) committee have passed a motion calling for such patients to be covered by a separate contract recognising their "complex needs".

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the committee, said the Government was moving increasing numbers of people into the community who would previously have been in hospital.

"Such patients have complex needs, additional needs, they have multiple problems including social issues and mental health problems. The idea that these patients are no different from the other patients we look after is a complete misnomer," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"What this motion has suggested is not that GPs don't look after patients in care homes, but a separate contract that recognises the additional needs of such patients, making sure that GPs can provide that dedicated support."

Dr Nagpaul stressed that the patient's existing GP practice could continue to provide care, but under separate arrangements and not if it was too stretched.

"This is a Government policy of moving many ill patients who need to be receiving specialist care outside of a hospital setting," he said.

"The idea that GPs suddenly take on this work when in fact such patients do need specialist care...

"What we have got at the moment is a contract that really makes no differentiation."

Following the vote on Saturday, the BMA could now lobby the Government to remove responsibility for looking after residents from the GP contract.

Ministers are expected to announce a new contract later this month, which is set to be subject to fierce negotiations.