Vital that patients who need the skills of a GP can access them - but home visits do take GPs out of surgery where they could be seeing more patients, says RCGP

Publication date: 12 November 2019

The RCGP has responded to Local Medical Committee proposals on the future of home visits.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"GPs and our teams are under enormous pressure and are working flat out to try and keep pace with rising patient demand.

"But for some of our more complex and vulnerable patients, home visits are an invaluable, and often the only, means of seeing their GP.

"We have a severe shortage of GPs and many practices are having to make very difficult decisions about where best to allocate their time and resources in order to deliver the maximum benefit for their patients.

"Home visits can be very time consuming and take the GP away from the surgery when they could be seeing other patients, and where there are far better facilities to properly assess patients.

"We are very supportive of proposals to train other members of the GP team such as physician associates and advanced paramedics to carry out home visits as appropriate, but they are not a substitute for GPs and it is vital that patients who need the skills of a GP are able to access them.

"Ultimately, this proposal will be for the BMA, as the doctors' union, to decide, but it would need a lot of consideration and any changes would need to be widely and sensitively communicated to patients.

"Meanwhile, we would urge our patients requesting a home visit to consider very carefully whether they really need one, so that valuable GP time is spent most wisely on those patients who need it most."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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