If you are not well enough to attend surgery, a home visit will be made at the discretion of the doctor. Please phone before 11.00 a.m., giving full details to the receptionists. It is important that the patient’s correct address is given. Visits should be asked for only when a patient is not well enough to attend surgery in person or is considered truly housebound. Please note that the doctor will telephone you before visiting if this is needed.
Sheffield LMC guidance on home visits cited several reasons why a home visit might not be in the patient’s best interests:
• A GP practice is a preferable environment for consultations and medical examinations due to the equipment available, lighting, infection control measures etc.
• Not all procedures, tests, examinations can take place outside of a practice, thus potentially necessitating attendance at the practice for follow-up.
• The resources needed to carry out a home visit are diverted from patients attending the practice*
• There may be limited access to medical records away from the practice.
*Home visits are extremely time consuming, taking up to an hour of doctor or nurse time in total. This includes not just the times actually spent in the patient’s home but also:
• Reviewing the patient’s records and collecting notes, equipment etc. before leaving
• Driving time and finding a parking space on the outward and return journey
• Cleaning hands and donning PPE before entering the home then removing PPE and cleaning hands etc. after leaving the patient’s home
• Cleaning any used equipment on return to the practice,
• Writing up details of the visit on computer and arranging any necessary prescriptions, investigation, referrals to other agencies etc.
We have therefore had to make the decision that from now on we can only offer home visits to patients who are truly housebound, the definition of someone who is truly housebound is as follows: • Persons who are completely bedbound
• Persons who require hoisting in order to be moved or to travel and would become ill if required to travel to a clinic
• Persons deemed on a temporary basis to be clinically too ill to be reasonably expected to travel (this includes terminally ill patients).
People who are able to leave their homes with assistance to go to the shops, visit a hairdresser or dentist, attend lunch clubs; hospital appointments, go to visit family etc. are not housebound.
After 11.00 a.m. please stop and think if your request for a visit is really necessary. Visits should not be used for routine matters.