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GPs vote for home visits to be removed from contract

GP leaders have voted for a motion for home visits to be removed from core GP contract work at the England LMCs conference in London in a shock result.

The motion called on the BMA GP Committee to ‘remove the anachronism of home visits from core contract work’ and ‘negotiate a separate acute service for urgent visits’.

They also voted for the GPC to negotiate a separate acute service for urgent visits.

After a long debate, with many speakers on both sides, it was voted 54% for to 46% against. 

The vote means that the GPC will be mandated to negotiate for this in contract negotiations. In the debate, the GPC said that it was highly unlikely NHS England would accept such proposals.’

Dr Andrew Parkin, from Kent LMC, who proposed the motion, told delegates that this ‘would send out a political message, and there is no better time for a political message than three weeks before a general election.

He added: ‘This would not disadvantage vunerable, frail patients.

‘Moving away from routine day-to-day contacts would actually improve care. All our patients will benefit, by gaining us that most precious and rare commodity in general practice, time. Home visits take up the most time of anything we do.’

‘Two to three hours a day for the majority. They cause the most friction, complaints and litigation. You have the most highly trained, endangered, and in-demand people in primary care driving around 25 square miles to see two patients an hour, and in the case of rural colleagues, maybe only one.

‘This isn’t good medicine. No other country has on-demand visits like the UK. New Zealanad, Canada, Australia – home visits are virtually unheard of.’

Dr Sarah Matthews, speaking against the motion, said: ‘This is a very bad idea. This will sell the heart and soul of our profession away.

‘The idea that if we recommission service away, to somebody else, that they will care more, better for the patient than me, than you, who has known the patient for 20 years, is just not true.’

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said: ‘NHS general practice has changed immeasurably since its birth 70 years ago, and today’s GP simply does not have the capacity to make home visits as part of a routine surgery day. GP representatives feel that continuing to provide home visits for a few will reduce the level of care they’re able to give to the majority of patients.

‘Of course, patients who can be treated only at home will still need to be seen – and NHS England will need to ensure this happens outside of the GP contract, with any changes communicated clearly and sensitively to patients.’

KENT: That conference believes that GPs no longer have the capacity to offer home visits and instructs the GPC England to: i. remove the anachronism of home visits from core contract work ii. negotiate a separate acute service for urgent visits iii. demand any change in service is widely advertised to patients


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