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Should our practice sign up for the new home visits DES?

NHS England is currently signing practices up to provide patients registered out of area with access to local GP services if they are unable to get to their registered practice. The ‘in-hours urgent primary medical care enhanced service’ will begin on 5 January.

• Any practices with an open list can sign up for the DES. Practices that already have unregistered patient services contracts, such as walk-in centres, are excluded. 

• Practices must provide access (8am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday) for those who fall ill at home, and home visits (if deemed clinically necessary by the provider). Any new information about a patient must be sent to their registered practice within 24 hours. 

• Patients should not receive more than two home visits a year from the practice doing the DES. Those who receive more than this should trigger a review by the registered practice to decide whether it is still clinically appropriate for the patient to be registered away from home. The practice must also provide details of every attendance to the registered practice so the patient’s medical record is kept up to date.

• The service is set to run from 5 January 2015 to 31 March 2016.

• GPs will receive £60 for every home visit undertaken for patients registered away from home and £15.87 for every routine appointment or telephone consultation. Practices should claim quarterly based on the number of patients accessing services under the DES, and the number of consultations or visits each patient receives.

• The GPC has warned that area teams and practices may find it hard to plan for the DES, because no one knows how many patients will register out of area.

Source: NHS England. In-hours urgent primary medical care enhanced service specification, 2014.