A report by the Alzheimer’s Society has uncovered that many care homes pay for GP services which would be covered by free NHS care to those living in the community

A set of double standards are in operation at the moment for GP services for people living in care homes. That’s what an investigation by the Alzheimer’s Society, as part of their Fix Dementia Care Campaign, has discovered.

In a survey of over 285 care home managers in England, as well as a range of testimonies, they found that one in five care homes was being wrongly charged by GP practices for services that should be free on the NHS, costing as much as £36,000 per year for each home.

The concern is that these costs would result in higher costs for the care homes which would in turn be passed on as higher fees for residents and their families.

The Society state that the money care homes are spending on these GP services could be better spent on one-to-one care for people with dementia.

Another finding in the report was the second rate and poor quality care that many care home residents were receiving from NHS services, including slow access to mental health, physiotherapy and incontinence services.

Some of the shocking examples that were mentioned in the report included:

- Being prescribed pain relief over the phone for a broken collar bone
- Being prescribed the wrong drugs as a result of a GP’s insistence on conducting consultations over the phone
- Waiting three months for continence products
- Being restrained under an emergency Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard due to a lack of mental health care
- Waiting a year for physiotherapy following surgery
- Being refused an out-of-hours appointment in their care home by a GP

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said:

‘People with dementia living in care homes are just as entitled to receive free care from the NHS as anyone else. A care home is, after all, a person’s home and health services must treat care homes as a vital part of the community, instead of holding them in disregard.

‘It’s unacceptable that this NHS double standards is leaving people with dementia waiting months for physiotherapy, incontinence and mental health services. In that time we are concerned they’re being robbed of essential care and pain relief, as well as their dignity, self-esteem and independence.

‘With 70 per cent of care home residents living with dementia, we’re urging everyone to get behind our campaign to transform the second-class service that many receive.’

For more information on the Fix Dementia Care Campaign, click here.

Source: alzheimers.org.uk