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PJ Online | A more proactive, formal approach to residential care homes is needed

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7194 p544-545
20 April 2002

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Meetings and Conferences

North East London LPCs Conference summary


A more proactive, formal approach to residential care homes is needed

Despite the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Long Term Care, the Government and two minority reports believe it is unfair that patients have free health care in the community while patients in residential care have to pay. This anomaly has to be addressed according to Dr Gillian Dalley from the Centre of Policy for Ageing. "There is a growing lobby to introduce standardised national social care regulations," she said and this paved the way for the 2000 Care Standards Act and, ultimately, the National Care Standards Authority as of l April. Other drivers for change include the expert patient, clinical governance, blurred boundaries and cost effective spending.

Norman Dean, Norfolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee, questioned whether it was possible to sustain an average increase in costs of 3.5 per cent in nursing homes with only a 1 per cent increase in the social care budget. Dr Dalley commented that the need has to be met somehow and despite it being "a complex bundle of issues" the Government cannot ignore this fact if it wants to meet its targets. In addition there is a growing population of ethnic elderly whose religious, culinary and cultural needs are not being addressed.

Surinder Kalsi, Barking and Havering LPC, believed the danger in not addressing elderly care lay in the way primary care trusts "paired care down to a budget rather than matching it to need". He thought that pharmacists need to be more proactive by introducing formal approaches to residential care homes.

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