home visits SHORTCUT Home visit policy Other pages: Visits | Requests | Support

Home visit policy

This is one of our three pages supporting you around home visiting. This page is about our home visiting policy.


Will I be able to get a visit?

Are you in one of these groups? Hover overClick each statement for an explanation:

I am completely bedbound and unable to move

We have no problem at all seeing those who are confined to bed

I am terminally ill or near to end-of-life

We have no problem at all seeing those who are at most clinical need

I am so poorly that I would come to harm if I were moved

We will always assess your request and agree with you the best course of action


I think I need a home visit

Click below if you think you qualify for a home visit:

You are in one of the above groups and think you might need a visit

Hover over for more information:

If you are mobile, even if you require aids or support, please book a surgery appointment

Any patient who is mobile, even with difficulty, should attend surgery

If you are in one of the above groups, and need medical help, you may need a visit

We have no problem at all seeing those who are at most clinical need

Please ring 01773 514130 before 10.30am so that your call can be assessed

Ringing earlier than later allows the doctor to assess your request and plan their day effectively around home visits for the benefit of all patients


Where can I get more information?

Download our policy and leaflets

View our information videos

Home visiting
Reasons to
ring 999

Home visiting policy

Home visiting policy

Home visiting policy


Why do you have a home visiting policy?

Hover overClick each statement for an explanation or read on below:

Other countries manage well without the need for a home visiting service

The UK is the only country to routinely offer a home visiting service - no other country has adopted such habits and patients have not been shown to be harmed from lack of a home visiting service

Home visits may be convenient but they are very inefficient and costly

It can take the doctor six times longer to attend a home visit than to see a patient in the surgery, and paying for highly trained and expensive GPs to drive around the practice area is not cost efficient

Home visits are riskier and actually offer a poorer standard of care

When compared to surgery consultations, home visits offer poorer quality of care due to poor facilities, lack of equipment, records and chaperones

The majority of home visit requests are inappropriate or unnecessary

Such visits take the doctor away from those with more clinical need

Unnecessary visits have a negative impact upon our services

Excessive visits reduce our ability to provide other services for our patients

There is much misconception around when home visits are actually appropriate

Go to our home visit request page for more information

It is actually up to the doctor to decide if a home visit is needed

If you need to be seen, it is the GP who determines where the consultation should take place

Rising workload means we must all provide care as efficiently as possible

We need to evaluate all aspects of our service so that the system does not break down

Inappropriate home visits damage staff morale and increase stress levels

Inappropriate home visits are often quoted by GPs and nurses as a major source of dissatisfaction

There are genuine safety concerns in visiting patients at home

Doctors and nurses, particularly during lone working, are vulnerable to attack

Medicolegally, home visiting is fraught with difficulties

An assessment made in a setting that is far from ideal clinically may not always lead to the best decision-making

We have updated our policy based on existing guidance - download now

We have not acted alone and have adopted established and accepted guidance already in place that has been published widely by Local Medical Committees - please download our leaflet or read on


Background information

Home visits, whilst convenient, actually offer a poorer standard of care compared to surgery consultations SHOW

This is because of:

  • Poor facilities (eg, soft beds, poor lighting, lack of hygiene)
  • Inefficiency (the doctor could see 4 to 6 other equally needy patients in the time taken for a home visit)
  • Lack of records and chaperones (required for safe care and examinations)

We have noticed that many patients are requesting visits that are inappropriate or unnecessary. This is having a negative impact upon other aspects of our service SHOW

Calling the doctor out unnecessarily takes them away from patients who may be in more clinical need. Most of the consultations during home visits could easily and safely be carried out in the surgery. Because patients might not know this, we are letting you know our policy on home visits.

Some myths about home visits

There are many preconceptions about home visits READ MORE

  • "It's my right to have a home visit" - under GP terms of service, it is actually up to the doctor to decide, in their reasonable opinion, where a consultation should take place
  • "I should get a visit because I'm old" - our clinical work should not discriminate simply based on age alone
  • "I can't bringing little Freddie out in this weather" - no-one will be harmed by being wrapped up and brought in
  • "The doctor needs to check I'm ready to go into hospital / have a ward to go to" - paramedics can provide initial lifesaving care and patients will be dealt with appropriately in A+E departments
  • "I'm housebound" - being housebound does not always prevent use of transport.
  • "I live in a care home so I always get a visit" - many such patients still go to hospital outpatients and take trips out
  • "Can the GP just pop out and see me" - we have fully booked surgeries and cannot simply drop everything to visit people urgently

Where home visits are NOT appropriate

Many requests for home visits are inappropriate, and a poor use of resources READ MORE

  • Children, young people or anyone who is mobile – children are portable and can be seen quickly in the surgery
  • Lack of money or transport – this is not a medical responsibility. It is up to patients to organise transport
  • Lack of childcare or been drinking alcohol and not able to drive – again this is not a medical responsibility
  • Can't get out due to bad weather – we are also affected by snow, ice or bad weather
  • Timed visits between hairdressing and shopping appointments – patients who are clearly mobile are taking doctors and nurses away from patients more at need
  • Well but need a check over to make sure everything is all right – our priority is seeing the unwell
  • Other help more appropriate – e.g., if you think you are having a heart attack or a stroke, please ring 999

Where home visits are appropriate

  • Terminally ill patients – we have no problems at all seeing those who are at most clinical need.
  • Truly bedbound patients – we have no problems at all seeing those who are confined to bed.
  • So poorly would be harmed if moved – we have no problems at all seeing those who are at most clinical need.


Inappropriate visit requests

If we feel that your visit request was inappropriate, we may inform you so that you may use our services more appropriately in the future. Please do not be offended, as we have a duty to use our resources effectively for the safety and benefit of all patients.


Anything else?

Do I actually need a home visit?

There are many options where a home visit from the doctor might not be necessary READ MORE

Attend a major A+E department for the following:

  • A feverish and lethargic (drowsy) child
  • A feverish and floppy (unresponsive) infant
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden, severe abdominal pain
  • Accidental or intentional overdose of tablets or medicines
  • Trauma (including falls) and broken bones

Ring 999 for these life-threatening conditions:

  • Chest pain (suspected heart attack)
  • Suspected stroke
  • Suspected meningitis
  • Anaphylactic shock (severe allergy)
  • Heavy bleeding or deep lacerations
  • Fluctuating levels of consciousness or completely unconscious
  • Difficulty breathing or stopped breathing with change in colour
  • Seizure, fit or uncontrollable shaking

Other options for help:

  • Self-care – for minor grazes, coughs and colds, sore throats, and hangovers.
  • Pharmacist – for diarrhoea, runny nose and headaches.
  • Minor injuries unit – for sprains and strains, cuts, rashes, stings and bites, road traffic accidents. Download an information poster .
  • Dentist – toothache, abscesses, gum disease. Ring NHS 111 if you need to find a dentist.
  • NHS 111 – general advice, medical help or not sure who to call.
  • Social Services – for advice and help on social matters, including respite care, additional help at home, and aids.
  • Podiatry – patients can refer themselves to Ripley Hospital for foot and nail care.
  • Physio – patients can refer themselves to a physio for back, neck and joint problems.
  • Counselling – patients can refer themselves to a counsellor for mild to moderate anxiety and depression.
  • Citizens Advice Bureau – patients can book an appointment to see an advisor at the surgery.
  • Continence Advisory Service – patients can refer themselves to this service for all continence issues.

Don't know who to turn to?

Will I be able to get a home visit?

Please visit our page on making a request for a home visit for more information.

Is there anyone else I can see for advice?


Our home visiting pages are © 2014- Ivy Grove Surgery and may not be reproduced without permission. Practices wishing to adapt our policy or information should get in touch first