We believe home visiting makes clinical sense and is the best way of giving a medical opinion in cases involving:-
- the terminally ill
- the truly housebound for whom travel to the surgery by car would cause a deterioration in their medical condition or unacceptable discomfort.
After an initial assessment over the telephone a seriously ill patient may be helped by a GP’s attendance. However the GP may advise the patient, or person with the patient, to ring 999 to receive the appropriate immediate care.
Examples of such situations are:-
- heart attack
- severe shortness of breath
- severe haemorrhage
Visit is not usual
In most of the following cases, to visit would not be an appropriate use of a GP’s time:-
- Common symptoms of childhood (fevers, cold, cough, earache, headache, diarrhoea/vomiting and most cases of abdominal pain). These patients are usually well enough to travel by car. It is not necessarily harmful to take a child with a fever outside. These children may not be fit to travel by 'bus or to walk, but car transport may be available from friends, relatives or taxi firms.
It is not a doctor's responsibility to arrange such transport.
- Adults with common problems (such as cough, sore throat, influenza, back pain and abdominal pain) are also readily transportable by car to a doctor's premises.
- Common problems in the elderly (such as mobility problems, joint pain and general malaise) would also best be treated by consultation at a doctor's premises.