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Independents' Day

GP home visits rising

GPs are being swamped by increasing numbers of home visits as the population gets older, according to a new study.

It claims hospital early discharge policies, combined with huge growth in the number of people living in care homes, is posing major problems for GPs, especially those with care homes on their doorstep.

The study also warned that ‘more and more complex cases were being discharged into the community' because of hospital early discharges.

A group of GPs in Livingstone, West Lothian, surveyed house calls after two care homes opened in its vicinity in 1995, and found 80% were made to over 65s in 2007, compared with only 27% in 1994.

Dr Sureshini Sanders, a partner in the practice, said GPs working in areas where care homes were planned should ‘seriously consider what their input should be and the impact this will have on the services they provide to patients.'

The study found home visits to nursing homes took longer than normal visits and partners found themselves struggling to visit other vulnerable demographics.

The percentage of calls to under-10s dropped dramatically from 46% in 1994 to just 1% this year.

Patients aged between 10 and 65 received just 19% of visits compared with 30% in 1994.

There are currently 400,000 people living in care homes, but the number is predicted to rise to 750,000 by 2031, hitting over 1,000,000 by 2071.

Home visit

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