Some of our policies & procedures are designed to make the surgery run more efficiently, allowing us to see & deal with as many patients as possible each day.
No other country has adopted the home visiting habits of British general practice. In the time it takes for the doctor to triage the visit request, pack up their equipment, print a summary of the medical notes, drive to the patients home, assess them, drive back to the surgery, document in the notes & arrange any necessary investigations or treatment, the doctor could have seen at least 5 patients in the surgery! In addition, it is much more difficult to assess patients in their own home as the conditions are suboptimal, & there are potential personal safety issues for doctors attending patients' homes alone.
Therefore, we have developed a detailed home visiting policy, which we share with a large number of other surgeries around the country, & we would encourage all our patients to read this if they are able to. The regulations state that "in the case of a patient whose ‘condition is such’, it is for the doctor to decide based on ‘the doctors reasonable opinion’ as to whether the patient should attend a doctors premises or be visited at home". Therefore, our policy is to offer a home visit to patients who are permanently housebound, severely disabled or reaching the end of their life.
Occasionally, patients will request a home visit because they feel temporarily housebound by their medical condition. We consider that if a patient is able to come to their front door independently to let the doctor in, they should be able to attend the surgery by taxi & we would expect such patients to do so. Furthermore, if a patient is so unwell that they are unable to come to their front door, it is likely that they are very unwell & as such, a hospital attendance via emergency ambulance is often a better option than a GP visit. If you are ever unsure about which part of the NHS to access, please ring 111 or visit https://111.nhs.uk.
We require 48 working hours to process all repeat prescription requests - this means if you submit a prescription before midday on a Monday morning, it should be ready after midday on the following Wednesday afternoon. Issuing a repeat prescription is not a straightforward process - the doctors spend around 3 hours issuing repeat prescriptions every day. This is because we need to ensure a patient's medication & chronic disease monitoring is up to date, & that the timing of the request is correct. Therefore, please request your repeat prescriptions when you have about 7 days' supply left, to allow time for us to address any problems & for your pharmacy to prepare the medication. Your medication must be on your repeat prescription list in most cases.
Processing repeat prescriptions would be much quicker if more of our patients were signed up for the electronic prescriptions service (where prescriptions can be sent electronically direct to your preferred pharmacy) & online access to their medical records (where repeat prescriptions can be requested by computer). This removes the delay caused by our administrative staff preparing the repeat prescriptions & should be much more convenient for most patients. Please ask at our reception for more details. If a hospital advises you to start a new medication, we cannot issue it until we have received a letter from the hospital, so we can be sure they have properly counselled you on that medication. If they advise that it needs starting straight away, they should issue the first prescription themselves & we would encourage all patients to request this.
Thank you for helping us to make our repeat prescriptions process as safe & efficient as possible.