A patient safety alert has been issued by NHS England around the prioritisation of general practice home visits.
When a request for a home visit is made, it is vital that general practices have a system in place to assess:
- whether a home visit is clinically necessary; and
- the urgency of need for medical attention.
This can be undertaken, for example, by telephoning the patient or carer in advance to gather information to allow for an informed decision to be made on prioritisation according to clinical need. In some cases the urgency of need will be so great that it will be inappropriate for the patient to wait for a GP home visit and alternative emergency care arrangements will be necessary.
It is recognised good practice for general practices to have systems in place to triage and prioritise home visits. The aim of this alert is to raise awareness of this good practice.