Home Visits

Who are Home Visits for?

Home Visits are reserved for the following groups of patients:

  • Terminally ill
  • Truly bedbound
  • Patients who are severely ill and cannot be mobilised

Please arrange a telephone appointment in the normal way. If your clinician feels a home visit is necessary this will be arranged.

Although a traditional part of general practice, home visits are time consuming. Please remember that several patients can be seen in the practice in the time that it takes to make one home visit. So please help us to help you and our other patients by visiting the surgery whenever possible.

A doctor’s ability to properly assess and to treat a patient seen in their own home is often impaired by the non-ideal clinical situation of poor lighting, absence of chaperones, unhygienic conditions and such simple difficulties as soft beds, making it impossible to palpate abdomens or complete other examinations correctly.

We want to see patients as quickly as possible, and the best way is often to encourage them to come to the health centre, because your GP will have access to all your medical records, including those held on computer. There are also better facilities for examining and treating patients at the Health Centre.

Babies and small children should be brought to the surgery where we will do our best to see them promptly. If the Reception staff are made aware that your child is particularly unwell, they will do everything they can to see that you are not kept waiting unnecessarily to see the doctor.

Transport / Social Problems

We cannot undertake home visits for reasons of convenience or lack of transport. We will be happy to provide you with details of local taxi firms. From experience, we are aware that relatives, neighbours or friends are often willing to help out. Our responsibility to you is to resolve the medical problem you have; your responsibility is to take all the reasonable steps you are able to, to enable us to do that.

This is to enable the doctor to assess if a visit is required, and then prioritise visits. It may be that your problem can be dealt with by telephone advice, or that it would be more appropriate to send a nurse, or indeed arrange a hospital attendance. It also prepares the doctor to collect some information required as necessary for the visit.

He/she may ask you to come to the surgery, where you will be seen as soon as possible.

Home visits are discretionary and not an absolute requirement of the GP terms and service. GPs are not obliged to visit a patient if they have assessed the patient’s clinical need on the telephone and found them to be suitable for an alternative method of healthcare.

The doctors would like to stress that NO patient in definite need of a home visit will be refused.

In the past, GPs were able to do routine follow up home visits. Sadly, pressures of time and more patients needing attention means this is usually no longer possible.

Some problems such as severe chest pains or shortness of breath are medical emergencies and you may be advised to dial 999.