Our GP Practice is keen to ensure that we make the best use of our clinical staff, allowing them to provide the most appropriate care to those most in need of it.
For the vast majority of patients, attending an appointment at the Practice is the best option for them and for the Practice staff.
If you think an urgent home visit is required, please tell the Receptionist. In cases of major injury, critical condition, or where the Practice cannot offer an urgent response, it may be more appropriate to go directly to your local Hospital Accident & Emergency Department. If an Ambulance is required, dial 999.
You may think that a home visit by a family doctor (GP) is best for patient care. However, while home visits are convenient for the patient, they actually offer a poorer standard of care compared to surgery consultations.
This is because of:
- poor facilities – for example, soft beds, poor lighting or lack of hygiene
- inefficiency – the doctor could see four to six other equally needy patients in the time taken for one home visit
- patient records, which are required to provide appropriate and safe care, are not immediately available; and
- patient chaperones, who are required to be present for some examinations, are not always available.
We have noticed that many patients are requesting visits that are inappropriate or unnecessary. This has a negative impact on other aspects of our service. Calling the doctor out unnecessarily takes the doctor away from patients who may have a greater clinical need. Most of the consultations during home visits could easily and safely be carried out in the surgery.
Where home visits are not appropriate
Please note this list only includes some examples, and is not exhaustive.
- Children, young people or anyone who is mobile
- Lack of money or transport. This is not a medical responsibility. It is up to the patient to organise transport
- Lack of childcare or been drinking alcohol and not able to drive. This is not a medical responsibility
- Can’t get out due to bad weather. Remember that medical staff are also affected by snow, ice or bad weather
- Timed visits between hairdressing and shopping appointments. Patients who are clearly mobile are taking doctors and nurses away from patients with greater need
- Feeling well, but need a check over to make sure everything is all right. Our priority is seeing those patients who are unwell.
- Other help may be more appropriate – for example, if you think you are having a heart attack or a stroke, please ring 999.
Where home visits are appropriate and worthwhile
- Terminally ill patients: we have no problems seeing those who are at most clinical need
- Truly bedbound patients: we have no problems seeing those who are confined to bed
- So poorly, the patient would be harmed if moved: we have no problems seeing those who are at most clinical need.
Some myths about home visits
|It’s my right to have a home visit.
|Under the GP terms of service, it is actually up to the doctor to decide, in their reasonable opinion, where a consultation should take place.
|I should get a visit because I’m old.
|Our clinical work does not judge based on age alone.
|I can’t bring my child out in this weather.
|No-one will be harmed by being wrapped up and brought in to the surgery.
|The doctor needs to check I’m ready to go into hospital.
|Paramedics can provide initial lifesaving care, and patients will be cared for appropriately in emergency departments.
|Being housebound does not always prevent use of transport.
|I live in a care home.
|Many patients living in care homes still go to hospital outpatients and take trips out.
|Can the GP just pop in to see me?
|We have fully booked surgeries and cannot simply drop everything to visit people at home.
If you think you may need a home visit
If you are poorly and think you need an urgent same day visit, please call us as soon as you become aware a visit may be needed, ideally before 10am on the day.
- If you are mobile (own legs, using walking aids, wheelchair or scooter), we kindly ask that you see us in the surgery
- The triage nurse or doctor will always consider your request and ensure you are seen by the most appropriate health care professional in the most appropriate location
- An Emergency Hospital admission may be organised for the patient via the ambulance service without first seeing the patient, in cases where their medical condition make that course of action appropriate.
If we visit you at home and feel that your request was inappropriate, we may inform you so that you use our services more appropriately in the future. Please do not be offended, as we have a duty to use our resources effectively for the safety and benefit of all patients.
You can also be visited at home by a community nurse if you are referred by your GP. You should also be visited at home by a health visitor if you have recently had a baby or if you are newly registered with a GP and have a child under five years.
|No transport or money
|Children, young people and anyone who is mobile
|Would come to serious harm if moved
|Social reasons or for convenience
Remember: you do not have an automatic right to a home visit
Under their terms of working, GPs are required to consider home visits for medical reasons only. If you think you require a home visit, please call the surgery, ideally before 10am. All home visit requests will be medically assessed to check if a visit is appropriate.
Always provide a current landline/mobile number so that the Doctor or Nurse can contact you.