A change of attitude on visits needed
Dr Handraty (Letters, September 8) says patients are losing respect for GPs because we are reluctant to visit them at home. He maintains we are losing sight of what our job is and of our calling.
That may well be. But in my view, the current home visiting rate has become a cultural anomaly. Today in most other European countries a home visit from a doctor is considered an absolute last resort.
I know that a lot of elderly people I have on regular home visits are not truly housebound (I try to slip into my history-taking a question about shopping trips). Most of the kids are lying on the sofa munching crisps watching a cartoon when I arrive. People between these ages almost never warrant a visit.
There is a lot that can be done to reduce the visiting load. Education, triage, a PCT-funded visiting service, and a transport service are all options.
I agree with Dr Handraty that doing away with visits altogether may not do our professional status any favours. But if the Government wants me to do even more during the day, it has to accept that there really won't be enough time for the current home visit rate. A change in people's attitude (including that of some doctors) would also help.
Dr Keli Thorsteinsson