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LMC condemns expectation GPs use own cars for Covid home visits

An LMC has said that GPs should not be expected to use their own cars for home visits to patients with coronavirus (Covid-19).

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire LMC said in a letter to commissioners that the use of personal cars puts GPs’ family members ‘at risk’ from infection.

A ‘dedicated visiting service’ with ‘appropriate’ infection control measures should instead be separately commissioned, it added.

NHS England told GPs last month that they will need to manage some Covid patients face-to-face – either through designated ‘hot zones’ in their practices, ‘hot hubs’ within their PCN or home visiting services.

However, the LMC letter said: ‘We strongly advise against expecting health and social care professionals to use their family cars to do home visits to patients who may have Covid. 

‘These vehicles cannot be easily decontaminated, become vectors for transmission, and put family members at risk. A dedicated visiting service with appropriate infection control considerations should be separately commissioned.’

The letter outlined that the LMC believes all management of Covid patients face-to-face, including hot hubs, home visiting services and end-of-life care, is ‘non-GMS’ and should be commissioned separately from practices. 

Meanwhile, GPs have also been asked to set up dedicated home visiting services for their most vulnerable patients who are ‘shielding’ from coronavirus for 12 weeks – using staff members who have not been exposed to Covid-19 ‘if possible’.