GPs: Remove home visits from GP contract

The British Medical Association (BMA) claims that home visits should be removed from the GP contract, as family doctors “no longer have the capacity” to make them as part of their core work.

According to the BMA, NHS staff are under so much pressure that separate arrangements will be needed for patients who need to be visited at home. Kent Local Medical Committee will table that proposal as a motion at the Local Medical Committee (LMC) conference on 22 November 2019.

Kent LMC works with the BMA to help shape policy and it says that the BMA’s GP Committee should renegotiate with NHS England to “remove the anachronism of home visits from core contract work, negotiate a separate acute service for urgent visits and demand that any change in service is widely advertised to patients.”

The current GP contract suggests that other healthcare professionals, such as physician associates and advanced paramedic practitioners, should undertake home visits once they are recruited.

A Kent GP stated that visiting patients at home is difficult not only because of the rising GP workload but also because of the widening GP footprint. This means that some home visits can be one hour’s journey there and back, which is not possible with the current workload.

A spokesperson for the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said that while it was sympathetic to the motion, as home visits can be very time consuming, that home visits are invaluable for some vulnerable patients with more complex issues, and they may be the only way they have of seeing their GP.

The RCGP has stated that it is supportive of proposals to train other members of the GP team, such as physician associates, to make home visits, but emphasised that they are not a substitute for GPs and it is vital that patients who need the skills of a GP are able to see them.

Rob Cadwallader, General Practice Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “Home visits are a key issue for many GPs, with practice workloads being prohibitive. However, a solution must be found to ensure that individuals who require a home visit can still receive them, while ensuring that GPs have a manageable workload.

“For advice on matters relating to the healthcare sector, contact our expert team at Milsted Langdon today.”