The doctors of the Belgrave Clinic carry out house calls for registered patients who are unable to attend the surgery. However, it has become increasingly more difficult to do this and we hope that the request for such calls be limited to the elderly without transport, patients who are immobilised with physical disability and patients who are severely unwell.
If a patient or carer of a patient feels that a house call is required, they should ring the surgery as early as they can in they morning. Receptionists are instructed to inquire if there was any possibility of the patient coming to the surgery. If this is possible, they will be given an appointment convenient for the patient, often fitted into a routine surgery as a matter of urgency. If not, their phone number will be taken and a doctor will ring to discuss the issue. If the patient feels that there is a matter of urgency about the call, this should be highlighted to the receptionist.
On being informed of the request for a house call, the doctor will ring the patient and discuss the problem. Very often in the case of a patient familiar to the doctor, the problem can be resolved to the patient’s satisfaction over the phone. Sometimes reassurance from the doctor will enable the patient to feel comfortable about coming to the Clinic. In cases of emergency, it may be preferable for the patient to be brought to an emergency department.
When the doctor has agreed to call, he/she will give a time about which they intend to visit. Very often this will be in between surgeries, over lunch or after surgery. Remembering that it can take up to an hour out of the doctors working day from leaving a surgery, driving, parking and finding the residence, dealing with the patient before returning to their work place and recommencing their tasks there, we try to make the visit as efficient as possible.
In practice, it is our elderly patients that we visit regularly. It is simpler to bring children to the surgery where an ill child will not be kept waiting. Minor illness does not often need a house call to be addressed satisfactorily.