Wednesday, 1 August 2007

UK Drs reduce home visits by half in 10 years

The latest official figures on UK GPs show more consultations are now carried out by telephone and nurses see one in three patients. More damning, home visits carried out by GPs has halved in ten years.

Figures also show they are putting in on average seven hours less work per week yet also doing more consultations.

One wonders if they can fit the extra consultations in because they are reluctant to do home visits.

Ten years ago if your child had a temperature of 103 °F (39.5°C) chances are your Dr would come out to do a home visit. These days (certainly out of hours) you are told to take them to the nearest NHS direct facility, probably a few miles away.

It’s OK if you don’t work, but most Drs are effectively office hours only and getting a non emergency appointment is not always easy.

Seems that GP’s practices are taking some of the workload hospitals used to carry too, maybe this is having an impact.

It is all probably done so it looks good in Government ‘targets’, but is it actually good for the patients?

Many would say the difficulty in getting a home visit from a Dr from your own practice, or even from someone at all, outweighs any theoretical gains.


Ruthie said...

Here in the U.S. home visits are practically unheard of.

If you're sick, you drive to the doctor. If you're really sick, you drive to the emergency room. If you're really really sick, you call an ambulance.

Non-emergency appointments are only during office hours, like you said-- but sometimes Saturdays as well.

CFD Ed said...

Ruthie, Some GPs in the UK still do home visits, but they are much less common. It’s getting much more like you have it.

Our GPs have done home visits all my life. In fact I understand they (or at least some of them) did them before the national health service ever came into being.