We are sometimes asked ‘do you still provide home visits?’.
For some patients, particularly those who are frail, or those who are experiencing serious illness, a home visit is the only means of having contact with their GP. A typical week will see more than 20 home visits carried out across the island.
Dr Greg Hamill explains: “GP services are provided in seven surgeries across the island, and it is normally preferable to see patients in this setting. In the time it takes to carry out a home visit, I can see four or more patients in the surgery, and there are more diagnostic facilities to hand. However, for patients who are unable to attend the surgery, home visits remain an important part of our service.”
Over the last year, AMG has opened up more than 100 extra phone appointments per week, on top of over 400 GP and 300 nurse appointments. We find that by using ‘phone triage’, GPs can sort over 80% of patient queries over the phone, usually within two hours of an appointment being requested.
We also use these phone appointments to speak to patients who request a home visit, in order that we can work out who and when is most appropriate to visit – and often to check some directions too!
Dr David Hogg comments: “These phone appointments allow us to think about whether there are specific tests or information that we can bring to the patient’s home. There may also be occasions when we can resolve a query over the phone, or provide helpful reassurance.” Arrangements are in place for patients who are unable to use the phone.
“AMG is committed to maintaining excellent access to GP services. Access to appointments on Arran is well above the national average, and this means we can be quick to respond to patients who are concerned or worried about their health. We are working with our Patient Participation Group to improve this access even further.”