GP Doctor Home Visits Q&A
What is the purpose of a home visit by a GP?
To attend the home (or care home, nursing home) of the most vulnerable patients who cannot attend the surgery due to their medical condition. Many have multiple chronic health conditions, are frail, elderly and can’t leave the house on a day to day basis.
I asked for a house visits and the receptionist said a doctor will call me back. Why?
This is to gain more medical information about your condition, the request for a house visit and to ensure it is the most appropriate course of action.
Why doesn’t my GP provide home visits for everyone who asks for one?
If you read the post about the day of a GP you will see the pressures that GPs are under to deliver healthcare to their population. Therefore home visits are reserved for those who are most vulnerable and can’t travel to the surgery to be seen.
I may be able to travel to the GP surgery to be seen. However I have asked for a house visit. Why is the GP trying to convince me to travel to the surgery to be seen?
We have better lighting, equipment, facilities, chaperones and access to medical notes available to aid your management in the surgery. Also remember that a house visit may only seem like a matter of 15 minutes to you but in the time it takes us to travel to you, see you and then return we could have seen 3-4 patients in the surgery or made 8 telephone triage calls. Therefore we do provide house visits to those who need it but ask others to attend if they can.
I don’t have transport to get to the GP Surgery. Can I request a house visit?
Healthcare is a shared responsibility between doctor and patient. In this situation you could consider asking a family member/colleague/friend to bring you to the surgery.
I have been unwell for a number of days but called the GP late in the day. Is this okay?
Ideally it is better if you are able to call requesting a house visit as early as possible. This allows us to better manage and distribute our workload. Obviously if you become unwell later in the day you cannot help this and should still call the GP.
I have asked for a house visit for my relative. Is this okay?
Yes as long as the request is appropriate. But please ensure your relative knows that we are coming.
I asked for a house visit but why has the GP stated that he will request the district nurse to attend?
Sometimes it is more appropriate for the district nurse to attend to your medical condition to manage your condition more appropriately.
I requested a house visit hours ago. My GP still hasn’t visited?
We try to fit in house visits along with our other workload. Generally it can be very difficult to visit you immediately. If you feel that you require a house visit immediately it may mean that arranging other services may be more appropriate. Your GP will discuss this over the phone when you request a house visit.
My GP hasn’t visited but feels I need to go into hospital. How does he/she know without having seen me? Surely the GP should visit first?
After having assessed your condition over the phone the GP may feel it more appropriate that you attend hospital without visiting you. This means that it is safer and quicker for you to get the medical attention you need.
Why isn’t the GP I normally see visiting me?
Unfortunately the majority of the time you cannot specify the doctor you wish to see for a house visit. It will depend on the workload in the practice at the time and the GPs allocated for house visits on the day.
My pet dog is very friendly. Is it okay to leave my dog in the same room?
Ideally pets should be kept in another room before the GP arrives as it can be a distraction during the consultation. It is important that we can concentrate fully on your medical problems without the distraction of pets running about the room.
My house can be difficult to find. Maybe I should have told the GP when requesting a house call?
If your house is difficult to find or the street name/house number not signposted it would make it easier if we know this beforehand so we can get better directions about how to find it quickly.
My GP has asked me or a relative/carer to collect my prescription from the GP surgery despite coming out to see me. Why?
Sometimes GPs will handwrite prescriptions. However it may be safer to print them in the surgery after returning from the house visit as we can look at your electronic notes to check allergies, interactions with other medications and more detailed medical history.
I take lots of medications and can never remember which ones?
Although when performing house visits we have brief medical information about you it can be a good idea to have a list of the medication you take or the medication boxes to make it easier for us to determine the medications you are taking. You can prepare this before we arrive.
I normally get house visits but feel that now I am able to attend to see my GP?
It is important that you tell your GP this to avoid arranging house visits when you may be able to travel to the GP surgery for an appointment.