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Care home briefing 89 – Entitlement to GP services

If the government’s proposals to establish GP Commissioning come into force,[1] the world of the GP will be undergoing significant change in the near future.

There is however, currently often a misunderstanding regarding the entitlement of care home residents to GP services.

Although a resident may move into a care home, they do not as a result of that admission surrender their rights to NHS GP care or the right to access general medical services through a GP within the area of the local PCT. They are entitled to continue to be registered with a GP and have GP services in the same way as any other local resident.

This has, nevertheless, caused confusion leading even on occasion to GPs refusing care to care home residents. Sometimes this seems to be based on a mistaken belief that the resident is now in some form of secondary care and thus not entitled to primary care services.

Care home residents are entitled therefore to maintain the registration with their own GP or to register with a new one as appropriate.

However, what they (or the care home owners) cannot do is to insist on a level of care and attention over and above that which would normally be provided (e.g specific surgeries at the care home or at specific times and places). If that is required, then it is necessary for the care home operator to enter into a specific contract with the GP and to pay for this.

Many homes find it is helpful and convenient to do this. However, this is an additional service over and above the ordinary entitlement and there is of course no right to that. Furthermore, the provision is subject to normal contractual principles.

However, in the absence of any special requirements, the continued right to GP services remains.

Andrew Parsons
© RadcliffesLeBrasseur

1. See RadcliffesLeBrasseur Healthcare Briefing GP Commissioning – A Brave New World? October 2010 


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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