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Independents' Day

CCG pays to ferry elderly patients to GP practices in bid to reduce home visits

A CCG is investing £250,000 in transporting elderly patients to their GP appointments, so that busy GPs can make fewer home visits.

Ealing Community Transport (ECT), the charity providing the service, said the service will save GPs time and resources and - unlike a regular bus or taxi service - its drivers are made aware of the patients’ special health needs. It also allows for an escort or carer to ride along.

The number of participating GP practices has reached 15 in the first two months of the pilot while an additional 13 are in the process of joining. A number of other practices have also expressed interest in the scheme, for which the CCG has set aside £250,000 this year.

ECT chief executive Anna Whitty said: ‘The pilot is very innovative, but not logistically difficult. GPs and other health professionals have for decades made house calls to patients. Other than those who are genuinely bedridden, most could get to the surgery if only they had specialist transport.

‘This will save the GP practice valuable time and resource when primary care is generally stretched.’

Ealing CCG chair Dr Mohini Parmar said: ‘We hope to see more GP practices participating in this scheme over time as it proves itself to be a success.’

Readers' comments (13)

  • Home visiting should have been reformed years ago. A GP can see 3 people in the 30 mins it takes to do a visit (assuming not stuck in traffic). Traditionally home visits were for those truly housebound, bedridden and very unwell. Like so much in the NHS, people spotted a way to jump their place in the queue for appointments and it has become almost impossible for GPs to say no, for risk of a complaint. Very few other countries offer house-calls like we do because it is so expensive for doctors to leave their office.

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  • I worked as a GP in Canada for a year and did not do any home visits.

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  • My patient demands a home visit every week and even twice a week. The day I visit her, she has a reason to call OOH Dr within 24 hours to verify the diagnosis. She does not take any medicines because she doesn't trust medicines - they are so dangerous Doc. She has been seen by all specialities and finally the psychologist reported that she needed somebody to hold her hand and talk to her. She is adamant - she is not lonely and needs a home visit because she again has had a rumbling tummy and feels so weak. This has been going on for 4 years!
    If a person is immobile and housebound, one could understand requests for home visits. This pleasant lady demands home visits ' because she is 75' and because ' she does not have transport'. She is in no way immobile and does venture into the surgery when she gets a lift.
    The abuse to this service of home visits is huge but the fear of complaints of refusing home visits and that final straw when somebody calling wolf actually might be eaten one day- keeps me grudgingly succumbing to requests.

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  • wont be long till gps will be forced to be live in servants to provide 24/7 care and pandering and the gp will be expected to pay for board and lodgings , they will most likely not be paid

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  • The only person who can and should decide if a visit is indicated and appropriate is the GP. Fear of complaints, if visit deemed inappropriate and declined, should not be an issue.

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  • why don't GPs just pick them up in their cars on the way to work? it will be cheaper and they can have a chat and a cuppa with staff at the surgery then get a lift back in the evening?

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  • Visits are escalating in rural areas because of lack of secondary care beds, early discharges and an ageing population.Visits can take over an hour each because of distances and roads. Yesterday, I was doing my last home visit for a sore back at 815 pm.
    EVERYDAY is a 12-13 hour day.
    Please DO NOT become a GP unless you are prepared for LIFELONG abuse from patients, politicians and papers

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  • Every comment is real. Can CCG provide a taxi for an adult 64 yrs old with sore throat demanding a visit. How many times I have heard, I do not have a car, I do not have money for taxi. When I go for a visit, the house will have a plasma screen TV and 4x4 parked outside- which will be a neighbour "using my parking".
    RCGP says visits is to the doctor's discretion? It is not true, it is to the patients discretion.
    As for abuse to doctors, I hate myself to be one. One consultant has written, we all work with a detachment, how right he is.

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  • Practice Nurse,
    Soon GPs will be living in the basement of every house and delivering milk in the morning so that our patients get nutritious food.

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  • I feel this is extremely wrong step taken by the CCG which they will live to regret. Besides it would probably not last longer. The wise step would have been to employ a full time Gp who would assess and decide who needs GP and visit patient at home if necessary.
    That would cost 75-80000. It appears that monies are there to be given to private providers but not to the practitioners who would give value for money.

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