Shielding letter for high risk patients from CMO Catherine Calderwood

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Home Visits

Doctor's bagHome visits are intended for those who are disabled or too unwell to visit the surgery. Please contact the surgery before 10am or the day before to arrange a visit.

The receptionist will ask you for some details to help the doctor assess the urgency of the problem. We ask that you help by providing the receptionist with the information requested  

Please remember that several patients can be seen in the practice in the time that it takes to make one home visit. There are also better facilities for examining and treating patients at the Health Centre.


Home visits, whilst convenient, actually offer a poorer standard of care compared to surgery consultations. This is because of:

Poor facilities (e.g., soft beds, poor lighting, lack of hygiene)

Inefficiency (the doctor could see 4 to 6 other equally needy patients in the time taken for a home visit)

Lack of records and chaperones (required for safe care and examinations)

We have noticed that many patients are requesting visits that are inappropriate or unnecessary. This is having a negative impact upon other aspects of our service. Calling the doctor out unnecessarily takes them away from patients who may be in more clinical need. Most of the consultations during home visits could easily and safely be carried out in the surgery. Because patients might not know this, we are letting you know our policy on home visits.

Some Myths about Home Visits (all of these are not true)

"It’s my right to have a home visit" -under 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 should not discriminate simply based on age alone.

•"I can’t bring little Freddie out in this weather" -no-one will be harmed by being wrapped up and brought in.

•"The doctor needs to check I’m ready to go into hospital " -paramedics can provide initial life saving care and patients will be dealt with appropriately in A&E departments.

•"I live in a care home so I get a visit" -many such patients still go to hospital outpatients and take trips out.

•"Can the GP just pop out and see me" -we have fully booked surgeries and cannot simply drop everything to visit people urgently.

Where Home Visits are NOT appropriate (some examples only)

Children, young people or anyone who is mobile children are portable and can be seen quickly in the surgery.

Lack of money or transport this is not a medical responsibility. It is up to patients 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 we 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 more at need.

Well but need a check over to make sure everything is all right our priority is seeing the unwell.

Other help more appropriate e.g., 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 at all seeing those who are at most clinical need.

Truly bedbound patients we have no problems seeing those who are confined to bed.

So poorly would be harmed if moved we have no problems at all seeing those who are at most clinical need.

If you think you may need a Home Visit

We would kindly ask that any patient who is mobile (own legs, using walking aids, wheelchair or scooter) see us in surgery. If you are poorly and think you need an urgent same day visit, please ring your request through to us on 211 6090 before 10am on the day.

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.

If we feel that your visit request was inappropriate, we may inform you so that you may 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.

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