Opposition to scrapping GP home visits

THE RCGP has opposed the scrapping of home visits in England after GPs voted to remove the duty from their standard contract at a recent LMC meeting.

Delegates at the BMA conference argued that GP practices are too overstretched to deliver the service. NHS Digital figures reveal that in one month in 2018 GPs in England made 238,579 home visits out of a total of 27,084,027 appointments.

Secretary of Health and Social Care Matt Hancock branded the position a “complete non-starter” and the RCGP called home visits a “core part” of general practice and for some vulnerable patients the only means of seeing their GP.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the RCGP commented: “Of course, home visits should be used wisely as they can be time consuming and take GPs away from our surgeries where we could be seeing more patients. But it is vital that patients who need the skills and expertise of a GP are able to access them if they are unable to make arrangements to get to their local surgery.

"General practice is under enormous pressure at present and we have a severe shortage of GPs, so 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."