A GP has rejected claims vulnerable people would not suffer from proposals to remove home visits from doctors’ contracts –
saying it was “exactly those groups” who would be worse off.
Dr Simon Gillson spoke out after GP leaders voted in favour of a motion to remove home visits from the core GP contract at a recent conference in London.
The GP who proposed the motion said home visits took up the most time of anything for doctors and the plans would improve care for elderly and vulnerable patients.
But Dr Gillson, medical director at Warwickshire-based private practice Concierge Medical, said home visits were vital for patients with multiple or complex conditions.
He said: “We have been told the most vulnerable and needy patients will not be disadvantaged by this but it is exactly those groups who are going to suffer.
“There are often elderly people with multiple illnesses who rely on home visits and are not easy cases to deal with. It is those patients who need a GP with a breadth of experience to be visiting them at home.
“Home visits are time-consuming for a reason. Seeing a patient at home will enable you to find out things you could never find out elsewhere, simply by being with them in the home environment and seeing how they live with their conditions.
“A home visit is not the same as spending five or ten minutes with a patient on their best behaviour at a GP practice.”
The passing of the vote means the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) will be obliged to negotiate for the removal of home visits in contract discussions but admitted it was “highly unlikely” the plan would be accepted by NHS England.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has since said the proposals were a “complete non-starter,” while the Royal College of GPs has described them as a “core part” of general practice.