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MPs demand more GP care home checks

The health select committee is calling for changes that could double nursing home workload – Nerys Hairon reports

The Government is considering whether to act after an influential group of MPs deman-ded GPs carry out three- monthly medication reviews of nursing home residents.

In a report on elder abuse, the health select committee said 'incorrect prescription of medication' was a serious problem and called on the Government to force GPs to carry out more regular checks.

The report also attacked the quality of care given by GPs to nursing home residents.

It called on the Department of Health to 'vigorously pursue' the national service framework for older people and called for new standards of care for the elderly to be included in the GMS contract.

MPs cited research that found only one GP in four currently met the requirement for annual medication reviews in the older people's NSF.

Health minister Stephen Ladyman said the Government was concerned at the findings and would publish a full response.

But GPs said insisting on three-monthly reviews was 'overkill' and would cause a massive increase in workload.

Dr Andrew Dearden, chair of the BMA's community care committee, said the move would double GPs' care home workload: 'It's easy to sit in Westminster and say GPs should do this without looking at how much work that will be.'

Select committee member Dr Richard Taylor, an independent MP and former hospital consultant, told Pulse MPs had been 'very concerned' about the research findings. 'This is why we are recommending a review every three months,' he said.

The committee recommen-ded all care home residents should have their medication reviewed every three months by their GP or on request by the home, whichever was more frequent.

What the committee recommended

lGPs should undertake a medication review of all care home residents every three months, or on request by

the home, whichever is the most frequent

lGPs who own or manage care homes should not be allowed to certify the cause of death of residents

lRetainer fees paid to GPs to provide care to care home residents should be abolished

lThe Government should 'monitor effective compliance'

with the older people's NSF

lAppropriate clinical standards related to old age

services should be included in the new GP contract

to enable GPs to develop a special interest

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