Care England, the umbrella body for English care providers formed from a merger of the National Care Association and English Community Care Association, has warned that GPs charging care homes retainer fees for NHS care for their residents is “unacceptable” and must end.

Care England’s 2013 survey revealed that the situation had not improved since a Health Select Committee (HSC) elder abuse report criticised the practice, nor since the body’s previous report of 2008 entitled Can We Afford the Doctor? and not since work has been carried out by the Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE), NHS England and Monitor to improve the situation.

In 2004, the HSC made the recommendation that “the practice of the payment of retainer fees is abolished”. The Department of Health (DH) announced in response: “Everyone who is eligible to receive NHS care is entitled to be registered with a GP if they so choose. This right applies equally to those who live in their own homes and those who live in sheltered accommodation or in care homes.”


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