Care homes 'neglect older people'
The healthcare needs of elderly people are considered a "secondary requirement" in some of Britain's care homes, a report has found.
While certain institutions fail to meet even basic standards, staff at only 38% of homes reported routine visits from GPs.
According to the review, those who need an initial continence assessment are forced to wait more than two weeks for it in nearly 40% of establishments, while a quarter of residents feel they are not offered a choice of male or female assistance when using the toilet.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) study also revealed striking geographical differences in treatment, with many homes unable to offer access to geriatric specialists.
The review comes just days after a landmark report called for fundamental change to the care of older people.
Amanda Sherlock, CQC director of operations, said: "While we have identified good practice in areas, this review suggests some providers have fallen short of delivering effective care by considering the healthcare needs of residents as a secondary requirement.
"Despite having a disproportionately high level of dependence on health services, this group appears to be more disadvantaged than the rest of the population in accessing these services."
The CQC interviewed or observed care being delivered to 386 residents in 81 homes within nine PCT areas which were considered at risk of poor performance.
Three residential care homes, three nursing homes and three homes for learning-disabled people were examined in each PCT.
The investigation, conducted last year, identified good practice in areas such as care planning but found access to some services "appeared to be too variable" and, in some areas, basic health needs were not met. Bexley PCT was also included in the CQC study.