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Charging for a National Care Standards Commission report

A residential home has sent us a form to fill in as it is due an inspection from the National Care Standards Commission and is seeking comments on the care of service users. May we charge a fee for this? The commission said it had not been asked for a fee before, but the home is willing to pay.

As a matter of routine this is not part of your Terms of Service and therefore a fee would be appropriate if you wish to co-operate. The new care standards have placed all sorts of additional burdens on care homes, such as certifying staff as fit for their work.

Some homes are transferring these new responsibilities on to GPs where possible and where the GPs are prepared to co-operate.

If the home is prepared to pay there is no reason why you should not charge them.

If, however, you are concerned that patients are not being cared for properly, and are therefore at risk, you have an obligation as a doctor to draw this matter to the attention of the regulatory authorities and may of course not charge a fee for this.

Every doctor has such a duty with regard to the proper care of patients and could be disciplined by the GMC if he or she failed to raise appropriate concerns.

Even doctors working in an entirely administrative capacity should be aware that they retain a professional responsibility in this regard and that their registration is at risk if they fail in this obligation.

Dr Christine Dewbury, Wessex LMCs

Neither Pulse nor Wessex LMCs can accept any legal liability in respect of the answers given. Readers should seek independent advice before acting on the information concerned.

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