When To Ask For A Home Visit?
Home visits are reserved for patients who are house-bound or have serious illness and are too poorly to attend the Practice. Patients with certain severe conditions that can be passed-on may receive special advice on how they may be assessed and treated.
GP’s are extremely busy. They can see several patients in the Practice during the time it takes to do one home visit. Please think carefully before asking for a home visit and consider the alternatives, such as making an appointment to attend the Practice, ringing NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or call 111 if you are uncertain what to do.
Although we understand it can sometimes difficult to get to the Practice, we cannot take this into account in the majority of cases. We have to take all patients into consideration and use our judgement on priorities and the best way to see all of the cases that need to be seen. There is a fairly wide-held belief that patients have an automatic right to a home visit from a GP. This is not in fact the case.
Our GP’s will reach a reasonable opinion about whether to attend to a patient at their home based upon information received on the condition of the patient, and whether it would be inappropriate to expect the patient to attend the Practice premises.
There is nothing to prevent our GPs from arranging for the referral of a patient without first seeing the patient, in cases where their medical condition makes that course of action appropriate.
If a patient is encouraged to come into the Practice, it is often on the basis that this is where the best care can be provided. The specialist equipment is located at the practice, tests can be carried out more easily there, and drugs issued.
For that reason, when you ring for a visit we need your help in giving as much information as possible. It would be helpful if you provide the caller’s name and patient’s name and contact information, details of the health problem, such as list of symptoms and time of onset of these symptoms.
Our staff will pass on all this information to the GP on duty, who may contact you for more information. Based on the available information appropriate action will then be decided on which may include calling an ambulance, a home visit to assess the patient, self treatment advice, a prescription, Hospital referral or other appropriate advice or action.
If you have decided to request a home visit then it would help us if you telephone the Practice first thing in the morning between 8.00am and 11.00am, except in case of an emergency. This helps our GP’s to plan their visits and often results in a speedier response to your request. GP’s normally do home visits after morning surgery, so usually you can expect a home visit after 12.00pm.
If the patient’s condition deteriorates after you have spoken to us then call us back for reassessment or call 999 in case of a medical emergency.
Please do not abuse the Home Visiting service as it is time consuming. Our GP’s can see more patients if they are in the Practice, and not out visiting patients who may not really require a visit. Be mindful that unnecessary home visits may cause delay in treatment of patients who need urgent care at the Practice and may also reduce our ability to offer sufficient appointments.