"There is a fairly wide-held belief that patients have an automatic right to a home visit from a GP within core hours (8am to 6.30pm). This is not in fact the case.
Practices will reach a 'reasonable opinion' about whether to attend to a patient at their residence 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 the GP 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 surgery, 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."
RCGP - Royal College of General Practitioners
If a patient is genuinely too unwell to attend the surgery please request a home visit before 10am if possible.
Home visits are reserved for patients who are house-bound or have serious illness and are too poorly to attend the surgery. Patients with certain severe conditions that can be passed-on may receive special advice on how they may be assessed and treated.
Doctors are extremely busy. They can see several patients in the surgery during the time it takes to do one home visit. Please think carefully before asking for a home visit and consider the alternatives which are set-out elsewhere out on this page.
Although we understand it can sometimes difficult to get to the surgery, 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.
For that reason, when you ring for a visit we need your help in giving as much information as possible. The following checklist may help you with this:
You tell us
- Caller's name and contact information
- Patient's name, address, location and contact details
To help prioritise your call please give:
- When symptoms started
- List of symptoms
- How often symptoms being experienced
- Names and dosages of medication and when taken
The call taker will pass all information to the doctor. We may contact you for more information.
One of the following may happen:
- Doctor call-back
- Visit to assess the patient
- Self treatment advice
- Hospital referral
- A prescription
- Other advice or action, as appropriate
If the patient's condition worsens after you have spoken to us, please call us back for a reassessment, contact NHS 111 - If the surgery is closed. In an emergency at any time- dial 999.
Alternatives to requesting a GP Visit:
Ring NHS 111
NHS111 is available 24/7 365 days per year.
They will assess your symptoms and give you their advice.
Consult your local pharmacist
Your local pharmacist is qualified to advise you on how to treat minor illnesses. They can suggest over the counter medication or refer you to a doctor, if necessary.
Emergency Service - Ambulance
If you believe that your condition [or a patient’s condition] IS serious and an emergency, you should consider calling 999 and requesting an ambulance response. You could also attend the hospital Accident & Emergency Department.
Emergency ambulance responses or attendance at the accident and emergency departments should be reserved for genuine emergencies and not be used simply because you cannot get an appointment or visit from your GP.