• Find your local Age UK

Age UK  logo

  • Site search Search term
  • Back Information and advice
  • Back Money & legal
  • Back Benefits and Entitlements
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Benefit rates 2024-25
  • Benefits Calculator – what are you entitled to?
  • Bereavement Support Payment
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Benefits for mixed age couples
  • Changes to the benefits system
  • Cold Weather Payment
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Free bus pass and transport concessions
  • Free prescriptions for over 60s
  • Housing Benefit
  • How to apply for a Blue Badge
  • How to challenge a benefits decision through mandatory reconsideration
  • How to get help with urgent or one-off expenses
  • How your benefits are means tested
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Returning to the UK after living abroad
  • Support for Mortgage Interest
  • TV licence concessions
  • Universal Credit
  • Warm Home Discount
  • Winter Fuel Payment
  • More money in your pocket information guide
  • Back Debt and savings
  • Debt help and advice
  • Energy advice for the home
  • Financial jargon checker
  • How to reduce your water bills
  • How to trace lost money
  • Using credit wisely
  • Back Income and tax
  • What is equity release?
  • Ways to reduce Council Tax
  • Inheritance tax
  • How to boost your income in retirement
  • Equity release information guide
  • Back End of life planning
  • Back Legal issues
  • Finding legal advice
  • How to be an executor information guide
  • Making a will
  • Power of attorney
  • Power of attorney information guide
  • Thinking about end of life information guide
  • What is a living will (advance decision)?
  • What to do when someone dies
  • Wills and estate planning information guide
  • Back Pensions advice
  • Annuities explained
  • Finding old pensions
  • Pension calculator
  • Pensions scams and fraud
  • State Pension
  • What are workplace pensions?
  • What pension options do I have?
  • Back Scams and fraud
  • How to spot a catfish
  • Spotting TV Licence scams
  • Doorstep scams
  • Postal scams
  • Phone scams
  • What to do if you're the victim of a scam
  • Investment scams and fraud
  • Avoiding scams information guide
  • Help with the cost of living
  • Back Consumer advice
  • Changes to landline telephones
  • Back Health & wellbeing
  • Back Conditions and illnesses
  • Bladder and bowel problems information guide
  • Bowel problems
  • Coronavirus
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Hearing loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Influenza (flu) prevention
  • Malnutrition
  • Osteoporosis
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Back Health services
  • Dental services for older people

9 health tests that could save your life

  • Getting the most from your medicines

Getting help when feeling unwell

Nhs continuing healthcare, your hospital stay, gp services for older people, leaving hospital.

  • Complaining about NHS services and hospitals

What standards you should expect from NHS services

  • Your hospital stay information guide
  • Back Being active
  • Getting active when you find exercise difficult
  • Getting active but not sure where to start
  • Helping someone to get active
  • Preventing falls
  • How to look after your feet
  • Walking tips
  • Physical activity videos to use at home
  • Staying steady information guide
  • Back Mind and body
  • 10 tips for ageing better
  • 5 tips to boost your mood
  • Getting a good night's sleep
  • Your mind matters
  • Mindfulness
  • Staying cool in a heatwave
  • Staying sharp
  • Preventing and treating burns
  • Back Loneliness
  • A Life Less Lonely
  • Caring for someone who's lonely
  • Feeling lonely
  • Back Keep well this winter
  • Keeping warm and well in winter
  • Keep your spirits up
  • Look after each other
  • Cold weather advice and tips
  • Managing money in winter
  • Winter wrapped up information guide
  • Winter illnesses
  • Back Relationships and family
  • Financial and legal tips before remarrying
  • Planning for end of life
  • Protection from abuse and neglect
  • Dating in later life
  • Sex in later life
  • How to deal with grief after a bereavement
  • How to adjust to living alone
  • Top tips for grandparents
  • Worried about someone?
  • Back Care & support
  • Back Finding and arranging social care
  • Care needs assessment
  • Home care: how to find the care you need at home
  • Back Paying for care
  • Financial assessment explained
  • Where do I start in arranging care?
  • Paying for homecare
  • How much does care cost?
  • Back Help for carers looking after a loved one
  • Carer's assessment
  • Financial support for carers
  • Balancing working and caring responsibilities
  • Caring for someone with dementia
  • Looking after yourself as a carer
  • Respite care: having a break from caring
  • What to do when your caring role changes or ends
  • Carer's checklist
  • Back Housing options in later life
  • Assisted living and extra-care housing
  • Safety in the home
  • Home adaptations to simplify home tasks
  • Specialist housing options
  • Renting and social housing
  • Homelessness
  • Moving in with children and family
  • Park homes (mobile homes)
  • Sheltered housing
  • Back Problems with care
  • How to complain about care to your local council
  • Problems with homecare
  • Back Work & learning
  • Back Making the most of the internet
  • Computer training courses
  • Glossary of online terms
  • Getting started on the internet
  • Staying safe online
  • Keeping in touch using a video call
  • Making your device easier to use
  • How to download apps
  • Email essentials
  • What's WhatsApp?
  • Using social media
  • Is online banking safe?
  • How to transfer money and make payments
  • Shopping safely online
  • Online password security
  • Age UK's digital instruction guides
  • Back Discrimination and rights
  • EU citizens and settled status after Brexit
  • Help for Ukrainian nationals in the UK
  • Human rights
  • The Equality Act
  • Windrush Compensation Scheme information guide
  • Windrush Scheme
  • Your rights at work
  • Back Education and training
  • Build up your skills
  • Classes and courses
  • Higher education and university
  • u3a – Later life learning
  • Back Looking for work
  • Be your own boss
  • CVs and job applications
  • Job interview tips
  • Back Retirement
  • Preparing emotionally for retirement
  • Paul Lewis: Retirement planning advice
  • Living abroad after retirement
  • Retirement age
  • Back For professionals
  • Benefits hub for professionals
  • Mental health hub for professionals
  • Winter hub for professionals
  • Information guides and factsheets

Age UK Advice Line 0800 678 1602

Free to call 8am – 7pm 365 days a year Find out more

Telephone friendship

Get a free weekly friendship call. We'll match you with one of our volunteers. Our service is flexible to suit the different needs of everyone who takes part.

  • Sign up for telephone befriending
  • Find services near you
  • Find charity shops near you

Popular services

  • Age UK Advice Line
  • Befriending services
  • The Silver Line Helpline
  • Day Centres
  • Exercise and physical activity
  • Handyperson services
  • IT Training
  • Social activities
  • Back Services
  • Back Get involved
  • Back Donate
  • Make a donation
  • Back Leave a legacy donation in your will
  • How to leave a gift in your will
  • Making and amending your will to include a gift to Age UK
  • Information for executors
  • The difference a gift in your will could make
  • Ways to write your will
  • Free Wills Month 2024
  • Will Aid November 2024
  • Back Donate to our shops
  • Age UK and The Wombles join forces
  • Age UK's eBay store
  • Sustainability
  • Back Donate in memory
  • Make a donation in memory
  • Fundraise for Age UK in memory of your loved one
  • Make a one-off donation
  • Funeral donations and collections
  • Set up a Tribute Fund
  • Meaningful ways to remember your loved one
  • Make a major gift
  • The difference your money makes
  • Our professional fundraisers
  • Back Fundraise
  • Back The innocent Big Knit – get knitting for charity
  • innocent Big Knit updates
  • Back Sporting events
  • Run for charity
  • Skydive for charity
  • Cycle for charity
  • Charity walks and treks
  • Charity triathlon events and obstacle courses
  • Do your challenge for Age UK
  • Back Fundraising ideas
  • Most popular ideas
  • Sporty ideas
  • Fundraise at work
  • Fundraise at school
  • Fundraise while you celebrate
  • Fundraise as a community
  • A-Z of fundraising ideas
  • Get your free fundraising guide
  • Pay in your fundraising
  • Fundraising resources
  • Leeds Abbey Dash
  • TCS London Marathon
  • Back Stream for Ages
  • Your free downloads
  • Back Lottery and raffle
  • Play the Age UK lottery
  • Tuesday Treat Draw
  • Play the Age UK raffle
  • Gift the Lottery
  • Player Zone
  • How every entry helps
  • Are you a winner?
  • Lottery and Raffle rules
  • Back Volunteering
  • Telephone Friendship Service volunteering
  • The Silver Line Helpline volunteering
  • Connect and Support Service volunteering
  • Age UK shops volunteering
  • Local Age UK volunteering
  • Support our campaigns
  • Back Corporate partnerships
  • Why partner with Age UK
  • Back Ways we could work together
  • Can your company support the Age UK Telephone Friendship Service?
  • Help Age UK become Morrisons’ next charity partner
  • Latest jobs with Age UK

Age UK. Know what to do. 

Last year, over 10 million people trusted us to help them with some of the biggest issues in their lives. Learn more about how we help.

How your support helps

Here's how, with your support, Age UK is supporting older people through the cost of living crisis.

  • See the difference your donations make

Making older people's voices heard

  • Age UK know what to do
  • Campaigning with older people
  • Discover - news, stories and features
  • Media Centre
  • Policy and research
  • Wellbeing programmes
  • Politics and government
  • Back Our impact
  • Back Buy products
  • Back Over-50s Insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Home insurance
  • Motor breakdown cover
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel insurance with medical conditions
  • Back Independent living
  • Bathing Solutions
  • Stairlifts and Homelifts
  • Personal Alarms
  • Back Financial services
  • Funeral Plans
  • Legal services
  • Back Healthcare
  • Incontinence products

Health services

Although your GP doesn’t need to be your first point of contact if you're feeling unwell, everyone should be registered with a GP. If you're not, you should register with a practice as soon as possible, even if you don't currently have any health problems.

What does a GP do?

What services should i look for in a gp surgery, how do i register with a gp surgery, what if i'm too ill to visit my gp, what if i'm not registered with a gp or i'm away from home, what support can i get if i have a long-term condition.

Your General Practitioner (GP) can give you medical advice, treatment and prescribe medication.

Your GP can also refer you to other healthcare professionals to diagnose or treat specific aspects of your condition. For example, they may refer you to a chiropodist, for a hearing test, or to your local falls prevention service. These other health professionals may visit you at home or hold clinics at a local practice, health centre or hospital.

Your GP practice must allocate everyone a named, accountable GP. This GP will oversee your care and take responsibility for evaluating your current physical and psychological needs. Though this doesn’t mean the named GP is the only doctor at your practice who will or can provide care.

If you're joining a new surgery, ask about the availability of services that may be important to you, such as:

  • how the appointment system works
  • how far in advance you can book a non-urgent appointment
  • extended opening hours
  • support for carers
  • availability of male and female GPs and nurses
  • wheelchair access
  • staff who speak languages other than English.

Some surgeries offer a 24-hour online service, which you can use to book appointments with a GP of your choice, cancel appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view your summary care record. Speak to the receptionist to find out what online services your GP surgery offers and how to register for online access.

If you have difficulty finding a practice with space for new patients, contact NHS England – it's their responsibility to find a GP practice for you.

Find out more about online services on the NHS website

You can register with a GP surgery over the phone, online or in person.

You don't need proof of ID to register with a GP, but you may find it helpful to have your passport or birth certificate handy while you're filling in your details.

Find out more about registering with a GP on the NHS website

If you can't visit your GP surgery for medical reasons, you can ask your GP to make a home visit. If possible, try to call your GP in the morning if you think you'll need a visit the same day. Your GP surgery should have accessible information explaining how to request a home visit.

If you need to see your GP but can't make it into the surgery, they must offer a home visit instead. They should factor in how urgent your condition is when arranging a home visit.

Your GP might also be able to give you advice through a telephone or video consultation as an alternative.

You should always be able to see a GP if you need urgent attention. If you become ill while you're away from home or you haven't registered with a GP, you should contact the nearest surgery and ask them to see you.

If you'll be living away from your usual address for up to 3 months, you can register as a temporary patient at a local practice. You'll still be able to remain registered as a patient with the GP where you normally live.

If you have a long-term condition, your GP should help you understand and manage your own care. This may include drawing up a care plan to help you manage your condition on a day-to-day basis and recognise symptoms that you should report to your GP.

It may also include creating an 'information prescription'. This is a collection of information that your GP thinks is helpful to you at that time and will help you understand your condition, as well as ways to prevent any further complications. This can be done with the help of the NHS website, which helps you find reliable sources of information about your condition.

Want more information?

NHS services factsheet (828 KB)

  • Find out more about what you can expect from NHS services
  • Visit the NHS website
  • Find out how to contact NHS England

We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs.

About the Age UK Advice Line Find your local Age UK

Share this page

  • Share on Facebook

Last updated: Apr 08 2024

You might also be interested in...

Find out more about your rights and responsibilities as a patient in the NHS Constitution.

Regardless of age, very few people feel well all the time. Here are some ways you can get help when you're ill.

Find out more about some routine health checks that are quick to perform and can help you spot signs of illness.

Find out more about how to prepare for a hospital stay and what you can do to prepare your home for your return.

Find out more about NHS continuing healthcare for people who have significant ongoing healthcare needs.

No one enjoys having to stay in hospital. Find out more about what support you will receive before being discharged.

Become part of our story

  • Please enter a valid email address

Back to top

GP mythbuster 71: Prioritising home visits

It is good practice for GP practices to have systems in place to triage and prioritise home visits.

Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the need for a home visit should be continue to be carefully assessed. The British Medical Association (BMA) and Royal College of General Practitioners have published COVID-19 Workload Prioritisation Unified Guidance  which explains response levels. The guidance outlines types of work that should be undertaken in primary care, depending on:

  • COVID-19 prevalence
  • other workload
  • workforce factors

The British Medical Association (BMA) has produced a COVID-19 toolkit for GPs and GP practices .

NHS England issued a patient safety alert to raise awareness of the need to have a system in place to assess:

  • whether a home visit is clinically necessary , and
  • the urgency of need for medical attention.

The alert states that:

"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."

"Many practices will already have systems in place to manage home visits. Where this is the case, consideration should be given to whether a review is required in light of this alert. The review should also consider whether all clinical and non-clinical staff involved in the process are aware of their responsibilities when managing requests for home visits, and if any outstanding training needs exist.”

GPs should also consider whether alternate ways of assessing the patient are appropriate. For example, video call, telephone calls or the use of virtual wards in care homes.

When delegating home visits, the provider must ensure that the Health Care Professional (HCP) has the necessary:

  • competence and
  • training to deliver the home visit.

The HCP should also receive appropriate supervision and support from the clinical team. Practices should ensure that the person allocated is competent to carry out home visits.

When we inspect

We will expect to see evidence of how the provider has assured themselves of the capability of non-medical HCPs, to whom they delegate home visits. This should include a process of assurance: both on initial delegation of the role and how the HCP’s capability is maintained on an ongoing basis. It should include audit of:

  • their clinical decision-making
  • prescribing decisions when relevant and
  • a system for escalation to a senior clinician when necessary.

We use these regulations when we review if the practice is safe, effective, responsive, caring and well led. This mythbuster relates to:

  • Regulation 9 (Person centred care)
  • Regulation 12 (Safe care and treatment)

It is part of our key lines of enquiry (KLOEs). One of our key questions is whether services are organised so that they meet people’s needs. In particular, KLOEs:

  • S2 Managing Risk
  • S3 Safe care and treatment
  • E3 Staff skills and knowledge
  • E4 How staff, teams and services work together
  • R1 Person centred care
  • R3 Timely access to care and treatment
  • WL8 Learning, improvement and innovation .

We may look at how the practice:

  • manages and prioritises home visits
  • recognises a deteriorating patient
  • works with other professionals
  • manages care planning, referrals and investigations.

We may also look at:

  • the practice’s processes and systems to monitor patient safety through reporting patient safety incidents
  • how they learn from these incidents and significant events.

This patient safety alert shows how important it is for GP practice staff to report all patient safety incidents to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS). Lessons can be learned across general practice.

Further information

  • GP mythbuster 24: Reporting patient safety incidents to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) for GP practices
  • GP mythbuster 66: Advanced nurse practitioners and primary care
  • GP mythbuster 100: Online and video consultations and receiving, storing and handling intimate images
  • GP mythbuster 102: Pulse oximetry and monitoring vital signs outside the GP practice
  • Patient Safety eForm (nrls.nhs.uk)

GP mythbusters

Snippet gp mythbusters rh.

Clearing up some common myths about our inspections of GP and out-of-hours services and sharing agreed guidance to best practice.

See all issues:

  • GP mythbusters: listed by key question
  • GP mythbusters: full list
  • GP mythbusters: recently updated

Arrange a GP home visit

If you or someone in your family is unable to come to the surgery because of illness, then you can arrange a home visit.

You can arrange a visit by using our online form and explaining your problem. We can then arrange to see the most urgent cases first.

If you are able to come to the surgery, then we would appreciate it if you could book an appointment. This is because home visits can take up to six times longer than an in-person surgery visit, so it helps the GP to see more patients if you can try to come to the surgery.

You can also bring your children into the surgery if they have a high temperature.

How to arrange a home visit

You can arrange for a GP or Healthcare Professional to see you by booking a home visit online. You can also be visited at home by a community nurse if you are referred by your GP/Healthcare professional. You should be visited at home by a health visitor if you have recently had a baby or if you are newly registered with a GP and have a child under five years.

Change or cancel a home visit

You can change or cancel a home visit online. If your home visit is no longer convenient for you, then it's important to let us know so that we can help other patients.


To book an appointment to see your GP or nurse, you can go to our Appointments page to find out more information.

If you need help when we're closed

If you need medical help when we're closed, then you can call 111 .

gp home visit nhs

Preparing for your home visit


The majority of the services we provide are delivered in the community.  Often, this means a nurse, doctor or healthcare professional will make a “home visit” to your home or nursing home to provide you with care and treatment.

Before your home visit appointment

Before your home visit appointment, a member of our staff may phone to speak to you about the home visit appointment, and to answer any questions you may have.

If you were previously in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, please make sure you tell us.

During your home visit, you can expect the nurse, doctor or healthcare professional to:

  • comply with the infection control policies that CLCH currently has in place.  This may mean that staff wear face masks depending on the situation and the levels of Covid in the community at the time of your visit. Masks can muffle the words that people use so if staff are wearing one and you do not understand what is being said to you, please make sure you tell the healthcare professional caring for you.  The NHS team can make changes to ensure you can better hear and understand what is being said to you.

home visits during Covid-19.png

Our 'Preparing for your home visit' leaflet

As a home visit patient, you will have received our 'preparing for your home visit' leaflet.  The leaflet is reproduced below - and you can click on the image to download the leaflet.

1.  What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is caused by a type of virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). As a group of viruses, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • shortness of breath
  • a loss of or change in your normal sense of smell or taste

You can find more information at the NHS.uk coronavirus webpage

2. Hand hygiene

Our staff will clean their hands before and after contact with you. We would encourage you to either wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol hand rub before and after our staff visit.

3. How does COVID-19 affect your home visit?

We’re doing things a bit differently during this pandemic. This information sets out the changes we’ve made. Please take the time to read this information ahead of our visit to you, so you’re aware of what to expect.

4.  If you are unwell or have symptoms of COVID-19

If you feel unwell and think it might be COVID-19 related, please inform our staff by telephone before they visit your home. If you feel unwell and need advice, contact NHS 111 by ringing freephone 111 or visiting the NHS 111 website  111.nhs.uk You can use the  NHS 111 online tool   You can check your symptoms online via  NHS 111 Covid 19  webpage. If we suspect you have COVID-19 before or during our visit then we may need to rearrange or make alternative arrangements for your care.

5. Face coverings and Personal Protective Equipment

Our staff will wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) based on the level of contact that they have with you. This may include a surgical mask; they may also wear gloves, aprons and possibly a face visor.

6. Home environment

We appreciate you will have your personal items around you within your home. To reduce any risk to you or our staff, we ask you put away any unnecessary items before our staff visit.

Many of our staff are pleased to see your pets. However, we would ask you to put them in a separate space during our visit.

Please ask any household members not involved with your care to leave the room before our staff arrive; they can re-enter when we leave your home.

7. Waste 

waste can be discarded into the normal household waste unless a clinical waste collection has been organised by staff. Some of our staff may take the clinical waste with them as they have a safe method to do this. 

By working together we can make it safer for you and our staff

Covid-19 checklist

Our staff may ask you questions using the following Covid-19 checklist.

Popular Pages

  • Walk-in Centres
  • Publications
  • Vision and values
  • Get involved

Accessibility tools

  • Increase text size
  • Decrease text size
  • Reset text size
  • Black and white
  • Blue contrast
  • Beige contrast
  • High contrast
  • Reset contrast

Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. Learn more.

NHS England logo

  • Privacy and Cookies Policy

gp home visit nhs

GP Home Visit Mileage

Home / About Us / Policies and Procedures / Relocation and Associated Expenses / GP Home Visit Mileage

In July 2019, NHS Employers, the British Medical Association and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) agreed to reflect provisions in the terms and conditions of service for NHS Doctors and Dentists in Training (England) for additional mileage/expenses for GP trainees. This provision allowed doctors working in GP practices to be reimbursed for certain travel costs where they may be required to use their personal vehicle for home visits.

Schedule 11 para 16 within the T&Cs states: 

Doctors working in a GP practice setting who are required to use their own vehicle on the expectation that home visits may be required to be undertaken shall be reimbursed for the cost of mileage from home to principal place of work, and any associated allowances.

NHS Employers published their guidance on the 27 th  November and this is available  here  .

Eligibility Criteria

  • The provision is restricted to doctors working in GP practice(s) who are required to use their own vehicle for home visits when working is a GP placement only.
  • Claims under this provision can be made where there is a clearly defined expectation that a home visit will be undertaken which should be reflected in the personalised work schedule
  • The claim will cover the cost of home to place of work and return journey
  • The reserve rate of 28 p per mile will apply
  • On days where doctors working in a GP Practice are not expected to undertake home visits, they will need to determine their eligibility for excess mileage against the HEE Relocation and Associated Expenses Policy.
  • No deduction of normal commuting costs from value of mileage of claims.  As such, reimbursement of claims will be treated as a taxable benefit.

Note : - HEE will reimburse cost of mileage and associated expenses for an average of  three days a week  during the reference period/rotation.  A Practice may reimburse trainees if they wish them to undertake more than the three-day home visit average, but this will not be reimbursed by HEE.

Submission and Processing of Claims

HEE SW has agreed a process with the Lead Employers for the processing of claims as follows: -

  • Doctors eligible under this provision will complete the ‘GP Home Visit Mileage’ claim form associated with their Lead Employer (forms are accessible via the related links below)
  • The claim form must be completed in full and submitted monthly to a nominated individual within the GP Practice (Practice Manager, GP trainee supervisor or other member with delegated authority) to validate the claim. 
  • Once the nominated individual within the practice has validated the claim, they will send the form to the Lead Employer for reimbursement to the GP trainee.  The Lead Employer e-mail address is contained on the claim form.
  • Claims must be submitted monthly and received by the Lead Employer within three months from the last day of the claim period. 

This page was last updated December 15th 2020 (4 years ago)

  • Nurses and HCAs
  • Money and pensions
  • Knowledgebase
  • GP Registrars

‪0161 504 8999‬

[email protected]

FAQ: Toolkit | Checklist for home visits

Home visits are some of the most complicated activities that GPs do. Away from electronic records, usually after a busy surgery, through traffic, to sick or frail patients, often with multiple problems and anxious carers.

Our template helps you make the whole process go much more smoothly.

Checklist for home visits

Download – Word   Save as – Google Doc

NASGP Podcast | Home visits

"The security that LocumDeck brings with the comprehensive terms and conditions, and clarity around the workload I am willing to undertake isn’t there if I agree to a booking via email. It is when practices book through LocumDeck. This is what makes LocumDeck such a powerful tool. It gives me confidence knowing that I’m not going to get inundated with an unsafe surgery or workload."

Dr Charles Elliott, former GP locum (now partner) and Chambers lead, Frimley

See the full list of features within our NASGP membership plans

  • Membership FAQs
  • Join us now
  • NASGP podcast
  • The Sessional GP Magazine
  • NASGP for GP Registrars
  • Accessibility
  • NASGP newsletter
  • NASGP regional partnerships

© 2024 NASGP

Amelia House, Crescent Road, Worthing, BN11 1QR ‪0161 504 8999‬ [email protected]

Design by James Walker | Built by UnitedUs

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of use

This site uses cookies. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you agree to our use of cookies. View our cookie policy.

  • Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Information Links
  • Skip to Site Search
  • Skip to Footer
  • Skip to Accessibility Information

This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Information Links

Main navigation.

  • GP Training

Consultation skills - Surviving home visits

By Dr Peter Reeves. on the 28 April 2011

Preparation and research will help to ensure a sense of readiness when making home visits, says Dr Peter Reeves.

gp home visit nhs

You have just seen your last patient of the morning, a milkman with hypertension whose readings are always up when he sees you. He is nervous and you are irritated because you cannot get him to target. Still, no matter, you have visits to be getting on with.

Undertaking home visits during GP training is, for many, a foray out of the comfort zone. Initially a new and often daunting aspect of general practice, domiciliary consultations open up a new way of working to GP trainees, and constitutes one of the cornerstones of the GP role.

Love them or loathe them, visits offer a new challenge to training GPs, and their inherent requirements ensure that preparation and adaptability should be prominent tools in the bag of the intrepid, if perhaps tentative, registrar.

Before you go What do you know? Visits are visits for a reason, and a little pre-arrival preparation is invaluable. What have the patient's most recent attendances been about? Is today's visit the result of a telephone consultation? Time spent undertaking a little research at the surgery could yield key information and save you struggling later. Consider taking along a summary printout to help you.

Make sure you have everything you need; stethoscope, a prescription formulary, scrip pad, sample bottles, urine dipsticks, swabs, gloves, lubricant, otoscope/ophthalmoscope, forms, headed paper - the list could go on. What about the sphygmomanometer? Is there room in the bag?

Think: do I need the back pain advice book? If you find out that your patient is a young man with a lumbar injury who cannot get up, then you probably will. If you are going to see a palliative patient, consider taking the guidelines for end-of-life care instead.

Is your patient well known to one of the partners? Do not be afraid to ask their advice before you leave.

Lastly, do not set out without giving some thought to logistics - do you need a map or GPS? What about your mobile? Do you have the numbers for your surgery, the ambulance booking service, the local hospital or GP liaison service saved? Your clinical supervisor's number may also come in handy if you need reassurance.

While you are there Remember, it may be unfamiliar ground, but it is still a consultation. If anything, the patient's confidence is higher when you enter their home.

However, the patient and/or their family may be nervous. Having the doctor visit is a big deal to most people.

Try to be prompt and offer the same level of service as you would in the surgery - extend courtesies and respect their home yet ensure professionalism runs through proceedings. Is there adequate privacy for examination? Where is the nearest sink, so you might wash your hands? Astutely take stock of your surroundings - do not be nosy, but if squalor is prevalent, it might be important to note this.

When considering management, think about whether a prescription will suffice and, if so, have you considered how the patient will collect their medication? This needs addressing in your shared management plan. Often a friend or relative can collect it; however, offering to liaise with the pharmacy or district nurse may be appropriate.

When considering admission, co-ordinating this back at the surgery might be an option, but potential unforeseen urgency should mean you are prepared and able to manage this while visiting. Local admission policies vary, but organising the ambulance, discussing with the local resident medical officer, admitting senior house officer or bed manager, and writing the accompanying letter are all necessary tasks.

Might admission be prevented? Timely discussion with social care or the local intermediate care team might offer a solution that allows the patient to stay at home.

After the visit Back at the surgery, it is important to document everything promptly and thoroughly. Recording basic observations is good practice. Notes should be clear, stating that the consultation was domiciliary and not in the surgery.

If the visit was undertaken on your way home your first priority in the morning is documentation. Do not forget to replenish your bag - the chances are you will be visiting again soon.

Different visits offer different challenges. Inner city or rural hamlet, high-rise flat to care home - good preparation will ensure a feeling of readiness, at least in some small part.

Visits will always be necessary, and GP trainees will continue stepping into the unknown to develop their skills. So next time you are visiting and your soft-soled approach to the front door is greeted by a cacophony of angry barking dogs, spare a thought for the milkman and consider what your systolic might be doing.

  • Dr Reeves is a GP ST2 in Warwickshire

Reflect on this article and add notes to your CPD Organiser on MIMS Learning

Gp online recommends, more gp training, have you registered with us yet.

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?

gp home visit nhs

The voice for today's GP. News, insights and clinical education.

  • Register today for further access to articles and daily updates on the issues that matter to you.

Register Now

Stay signed in

Forgotten password?

GP Jobs

  • Salaried GP Prospect Health Uttoxeter
  • Senior Salaried GP Prospect Health Ipswich
  • Salaried GP Role, Hornchurch Prospect Health Hornchurch
  • Salaried GP (with a view to Partnership also available) Prospect Health Bradford
  • GP Tuakau Health Centre New Zealand (Tuakau - Franklin Region)

Just published

Shadow health and social care secretary Wes Streeting in front of Labour supporters during the election campaign

Streeting promises urgent post-election talks to improve GP working conditions

Shadow health and social care secretary Wes Streeting has said a new Labour government...

gp home visit nhs

Podcast: Wes Streeting on Labour’s plans for general practice

Talking General Practice speaks to Labour’s shadow health and social care secretary...

Winners of the RCGP Inspire Awards

RCGP recognises achievements of members in its annual Inspire Awards

The RCGP has recognised members who have undertaken work that benefits patients,...

GP consultation

Partners in minority for first time in history of general practice

GP partners are now in the minority for the first time in the history of general...

Labour shadow health and social care secretary Wes Streeting

Labour will review ARRS to end 'absurd' GP unemployment crisis, says Streeting

Rules that prevent additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) cash being used to...


Lib Dems demand 'emergency NHS budget' to hire more GPs

The Liberal Democrats have called for an emergency NHS budget within four weeks of...

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

  • Publications
  • Account settings

Preview improvements coming to the PMC website in October 2024. Learn More or Try it out now .

  • Advanced Search
  • Journal List
  • Br J Gen Pract
  • v.70(695); June 2020

Logo of brjgenprac

GP home visits: essential patient care or disposable relic?


The GP home visit has long been regarded as an integral element of NHS general practice that is needed to support both proactive and reactive care to patients in the community. 1 , 2 There are increasing numbers of people living with multimorbidity and frailty, many of whom have complex healthcare needs and limited levels of social support. Now with the new challenges around providing care at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it could be argued that home visits or virtual consultations with patients in their homes are set to become a more essential element of general practice, including in the provision of acute care out of hours. Consulting with patients in their homes provides unique opportunities to develop insights into how illness affects their lives. However, with workloads in NHS primary care rising, and increasing pressures on the GP workforce, the place of home visits in core general practice provision is facing increasing challenge.


The requirements of the current GP General Medical Services (GMS) contract in relation to home visiting are broad. 3 The contract is not prescriptive about who should visit or where the visit should take place, and states that the decision to visit is dependent on the opinion and agreement of the GP contractor. In November 2019, the Local Medical Committee (LMC) conference debated the current contractual requirements and a motion was narrowly passed to instruct the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) (the negotiating arm of the British Medical Association) to ‘remove the anachronism of home visits from core contract work’ . 4 The majority backed a motion to negotiate a separate acute service for urgent visits.

Reporting of the LMC debate in the national press and social media highlighted how emotive the issue of home visits is, and the diversity of views among GPs that exist around their value. They were described by some as a service that is regarded by patients as an entitlement, available for purposes of convenience. 4 It is likely that GPs working in practices that are short-staffed and overwhelmed by workload pressures are more likely to view home visits as an inefficient use of their scarce resources. Others considered home visits a vital component of general practice, arguing that when patients are unwell at home it is generalist doctors who are best placed to assess them. There were concerns that removing home visits from the GP contract would compromise the values of general practice, sending a message to patients that their doctor no longer cares for those who may have pressing clinical needs but wish to be treated at home.


In a healthcare system where it is expected that contracts are informed by robust evidence-based medicine, the lack of evidence regarding GP home visits, including out of hours, is striking. There has been relatively little research to understand the circumstances in which patients request GP home visits, when and why GPs undertake home visits, and how outcomes can be optimised within a resource-constrained health service. What is known is that over the last 50 years there has been a steady decline in the extent to which GPs visit patients in their homes in the UK and internationally, 2 , 5 , 6 and that not all GPs are convinced of their benefits. 1

Some GP consultations with patients at home are reactive when there is an acute and sudden deterioration in their health, including out of hours. The visiting professional must skilfully balance the risks of continuing care at home against admission to hospital. Others are more proactive, to monitor and plan care for those with long-term health conditions that may prevent them from attending the surgery. Research suggests that GPs do not tend to dispute visit requests for vulnerable, older people. 1 For patients who are dying, there is a positive association between GP home visit rates and achieving home as the preferred place for end-of-life care. 7 GPs who gain experience of home visiting during their training are more likely to undertake home visits post-qualification. 8 GP visits to residential and nursing care homes, and the quality of care delivered, have been described as particular areas of concern. 9 Little is known about responses to other patient groups who may benefit, including: those with mental health concerns; physical disabilities; complex care needs; or those who are unwell with potentially infectious diseases, such as children who may be advised not to attend the GP surgery. Patients appreciate home visits and feel that their relationship with their GP improves as a result. 10

Although GP consultations in patients’ homes are likely to require different consultation skills from those that apply within the surgery setting, the requirements for training in the conduct of GP home visits are ill defined and are largely left for the trainee and their trainer to negotiate. For many trainees, there may be limited opportunity for their home visits to be observed, because of logistical and time constraints. 11 Formative assessment tools (Clinical Observational Tools) for home visits are lacking, and summative assessment of a simulated home visit (within the MRCGP Clinical Skills Assessment) occurs in only half of exams.

Many types of home visit have already been subsumed by other services, such as specialist community teams, early visiting services, and care home teams. Although this can be seen as relieving pressure on overstretched general practice, an unintended consequence is the fragmentation of care associated with multiple specialist teams providing care in the patient’s home. It also calls into question the role of general practice in the management of such complex patients. Obtaining timely information, communicating with each visiting specialist team, and overseeing such care risks adding to the GP workload. 12 As Abrams et al highlight in their realist review of delegated home visiting services in this issue, there is more to be done to understand how such services can be implemented effectively. 13 Research is needed to inform delegation processes, and effective system implementation is needed to support such services and to understand the impact on patient satisfaction, long-term health outcomes, and cost. 13 A pertinent issue is the need for clarity around roles and responsibilities, so that the professional status and autonomy of all involved are understood and valued. This is most likely when trusted professional relationships are developed over time and where the facility to share information effectively exists. 13

‘Good general practice will always consist of patients feeling at home with their doctor and of doctors feeling at home with their patients.’ 12 In the context of burgeoning demand and underfunding of workforce and resources, there is a need to listen to the diversity of views among GPs and primary care colleagues concerning the future of home visits. Robust research is needed to provide understanding into the value of GP consultations in patients’ homes, both through visiting and using telemedicine, and how best to optimise the delivery of primary medical care, particularly for housebound patients, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Increased understanding into the nuances and impact of GP home visits on patient care and the wider healthcare system would form an important evidence base to inform NHS policy and the training and development of the primary care workforce, and is necessary before changes are made to the GP core contract.

Freely submitted; externally peer reviewed.

gp home visit nhs

Vladimir Putin’s latest escalation has hit far too close to home

R ussian hackers have caused chaos in the NHS and put patients in danger. This month, one of the most serious cyber attacks we have ever faced hit London hospitals and GP surgeries by locking pathology service providers out of their own IT systems. This has forced more than 1,100 operations to be postponed , including cancer treatments and organ transplants. Thousands of outpatient appointments have been cancelled and vast numbers of patients’ records stolen, some of which have been published on the dark web . They include results of blood tests for cancer and HIV.

Make no mistake. This is a terrorist attack on the UK, which has already resulted in widespread suffering and may cause deaths. 

The hackers, who call themselves Qilin , operate out of Russia. They were first known to be active in 2022 and their activities have so far been thought to be criminal, using cyber attacks to extort large sums of cash from their victims. But Qilin claim they carried out this attack – in which a £40 million ransom was demanded – over Britain’s role in an unspecified war. 

That may or may not be the motive, but it is far from implausible. Vladimir Putin seeks to create chaos in the West, to undermine support for Ukraine by demonstrating the high costs of that support. He has reportedly recruited criminal gangs to carry out sabotage against Western factories supplying arms to Ukraine, including cyber attacks. We have already seen indications of such action in Britain, the US, Germany and Poland.

Links between freelance hackers and Russian intelligence services have been growing since the 2022 invasion. It is possible Qilin is run and directed by one of the Kremlin’s agencies, and that it is provided with encouragement, information and technology. As a minimum, Russian law enforcement are turning a blind eye on these cyber gangs. For that, Putin is culpable.

It must be a priority to shut down Qilin, which has expanded into the largest Russian enterprise of its kind. That won’t be easy, although the National Crime Agency did manage to inflict serious disruption on another large-scale ransomware gang this year. 

We need to go further in dealing with such an attack on our country. Unless we respond vigorously to this sort of aggression, we will face continuing escalation. Our relative inaction in the face of a nerve agent attack on British soil in 2018 helped solidify Putin’s impression of Western weakness. This may well have contributed to his calculations on invading Ukraine. 

Words of outrage are not enough. In a face-to-face meeting in 2021, Joe Biden warned Putin against cyber attacks on critical US national infrastructure. That was ignored, and we have seen numerous attacks since on American facilities, including hospitals. 

We should certainly be considering retaliatory cyber attacks, not against Russian hospitals but against military targets and armaments factories. But the most immediate and effective step we can take is to demonstrate to Putin that aggression against our country will have the opposite effect to what he intends, by ramping up our supply of long-range weapons. Not only should we allow President Zelensky to use them against Russian soil, but we should encourage him, and provide the intelligence to help with targeting. Only then might Putin get the message.

Sign up to the Front Page newsletter for free: Your essential guide to the day's agenda from The Telegraph - direct to your inbox seven days a week.

Vladimir Putin’s latest escalation has hit far too close to home

Cookies on the NHS England website

We’ve put some small files called cookies on your device to make our site work.

We’d also like to use analytics cookies. These send information about how our site is used to a service called Google Analytics. We use this information to improve our site.

Let us know if this is OK. We’ll use a cookie to save your choice. You can  read more about our cookies before you choose.

Change my preferences I'm OK with analytics cookies

Online appointment booking

Version 1.1, 16 February 2023

This guidance is part of the Online patient facing services section of the Good practice guidelines for GP electronic patient records .

GP contract requirement

Since 2015 practices have been required to offer their patients the ability to book and cancel appointments online.  Since April 2019, the requirement is for practices to offer a significant proportion of their appointments for direct online booking, as well as actively promoting this option to their patients.

The 2022/23 contract sets out a more targeted requirement that all appointments which do not require triage should be available to book online, as well as in person or via the telephone. These can be made up of GP appointments, nurse appointments, appointments with other practice or attached staff, etc. including those made available online to NHS 111.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of practices turned off their online booking (and, therefore, cancelling) of appointments.  Data in early 2023 indicated that around 8% of practices still had this service disabled, despite the contractual requirement and potentially.

To ensure that you are up-to-date with the most recent contract requirements please visit the National GP Contract Regulations pages and the NHS England GP contract pages.

Whilst practices differ in how they manage their appointments, there are very few that are not suitable or adaptable for online booking.  Bear in mind, however, the reality of more appointment requests being triaged and assessed prior to actual booking.  Practices must ensure that the number of appointments available to book online meets the reasonable needs of their registered patients. This needs to be balanced against the nature of the local population to avoid introducing additional inequalities.

Be aware that offering appointment booking based on the basis of ‘first come first served’ may not reflect patient demand or support equitable care. 

Setting up online booking of appointments | step by step guide

Practices decide the type of appointments, specific clinics, or individual clinicians, and when those appointments become available for booking.  GP system suppliers provide detailed information to help practices tailor set-up to suit their local needs.

Here is a simple guide to setting up online appointment booking:

Step 1 | Ensure that your system is configured

Configure your clinical system to accept online booking and cancellation of appointments and then set up the surgery sessions to suit your practice appointment schedule.

It is important to have your staff set up correctly on your clinical system and to ensure that leavers are updated on the clinical system as soon as possible.

Step 2 | Decide what your online appointment system will offer

Consider offering routine, telephone, and face to face appointments, as well as offering a choice of clinics and clinicians.  Consider involving your patient participation group (PPG) in shaping the service and providing ongoing feedback from their continued involvement. 

It is important to remember that only patient-facing appointments should be marked as bookable.

The system default is to make all appointments bookable during set up.

When required, appointments can be changed to unbookable during setup. However, this is frequently overlooked.

If appointments such as admin meetings, fridge temperature checks, etc. are not changed to unbookable, they may be included in your practice’s baseline total (showing a greater number of available appointments than is actually true).

Step 3 | Review how clinical rotas and appointment types are set up within your clinical system

The following points are worth considering, to make online booking for patients as easy as possible:

  • create individual rotas for clinician type e.g., doctor, nurse practitioner, practice nurse, health care assistant, midwife etc. or for clinic type e.g., smear clinic, diabetic clinic, etc.
  • within individual rotas set up dedicated slot types, e.g., face-to-face appointment, telephone appointment, blood test, blood pressure checks, cervical smears, contraception etc. and future plans should include a wider range of appointments such as health checks, holiday vaccinations, etc.
  • consider any appointment data you may need to capture and include this information in either the rota or slot type
  • decide which rota and slot types to offer patients to book online and set this up within your clinical system
  • think carefully about naming conventions remembering the information seen by patients using an online booking system should be obvious to ensure appropriate appointment booking, for example use ‘blood test, instead of ‘phlebotomy’. Practices are advised to make it clear in the clinic description that patients should only book blood tests at the request of a clinician
  • provide patients with an overview of the different types of clinicians and what they can deal with, for example a pharmacist may be more appropriate to deal with a medication query
  • ask patients to book into appropriate slots, warning that any appointments booked inappropriately may have to be rearranged, also advise that an inappropriate appointment may not be identified prior to the patient’s attendance. In some instances clinicians may screen clinic lists prior to starting the clinic but this is not always possible or an appropriate use of clinician time.
  • review rotas and appointments offered to ensure they continue to meet the needs of your patients (PPG involvement in reviews will ensure that the patient voice is heard) and remember that this demand can change.

Where a practice runs triage appointments, patients may be booked directly into a triage column rather than to an allocated clinician.  To ensure that clinicians are available, appointment slots may also have been included in their own calendar.  If these slots are bookable, this creates a duplicate appointment slot.  Should this happen, the appointments in the clinician’s calendars should be set as unbookable as the practice is using them as a placeholder and not an appointment.

Gaining an understanding of the slot types and how they may be reported locally and nationally can be useful.

Step 4 | Decide the number and type of appointments available online

Practices can choose, for example, to make only routine appointments available online to retain control of urgent slot or triage slot booking. 

System settings have an option to restrict appointment booking to specific age groups.  This is useful for dedicated clinics, when specific age cohorts are eligible to book, for example over/under 65s’ flu vaccination.

Practices have an option to embargo slots and release them for online booking in a predetermined timescale.

Step 5 | Decide on a maximum number of appointments that a patient may hold over a fixed period

Many practices limit the number to two or three to prevent individual patients making appointments ‘in case’ they need them thereby reducing availability to others.  Creating a limit of one means that any appointment at all (e.g. for a blood test) will prevent a patient booking anything else.

Online slots can be booked manually by practice staff on behalf of patients who do not use or are unable to use online booking.  Once a slot is booked by any means, it becomes unavailable in both the patient view and receptionist view.

Step 6 | Remember to link in your messaging service

Practices may use an automated appointment reminder system, which can help reduce your ‘did not attends’ (DNAs).  Ensure that any online clinics align to the automated messaging service you have installed.  There are several commercial options for this service.

Step 7 | Promote your online booking service

Think about the ways you engage with your patients.  Let them know when appointments are available, particularly if you are promoting a specific service such as flu vaccination.  Use practice websites and social media to encourage patients to book online.

Consider offering patients practical support and guidance to learn how to use online services, either in practice or community venues.  This can encourage uptake of all online services .  Your patient participation group may be able to support you with this.

Benefits of online appointment booking

Evidence shows that patients who are informed and involved in their own care have better health outcomes and are less likely to be hospitalised.

Benefits to practices

The benefits of online appointment booking to practices include:

  • reduction in unplanned surgery visits in person to make, cancel or reschedule appointments
  • reduction in telephone calls to make, cancel or reschedule appointments, reducing pressure on phone lines (which can have an effect of reducing call wait times overall) and practice staff
  • potential to save staff time with less direct patient contact, particularly when booking high-capacity clinics such as seasonal vaccination clinics
  • fewer missed appointments – NHS figures released in 2021 tell us that it is 21% less likely that a patient will fail to attend an appointment booked online
  • where a patient uses the option of including a reason for the appointment, an opportunistic review by a member of the practice team may suggest there is a more appropriate person to deal with the problem, and the patient contacted accordingly (remembering that patients still have the option of seeing a specific/preferred clinician). For staff trained in care navigation it is relatively easy to identify if an appointment is with the wrong clinician however the onus will always be on the patient making the booking

Benefits to patients

The benefits to patients include:

  • fewer surgery visits needed to make, cancel, or reschedule appointments
  • fewer telephone calls to make, cancel or reschedule appointments, reducing the frustrations of lengthy call waiting times
  • ease of use and convenience with 24/7 access
  • choice of clinician
  • online services can be helpful to people with reduced mobility, sensory difficulties or learning difficulties
  • patients can access the service through the NHS App , other commercial providers of apps, and the practice website, using a smartphone, tablet, or computer
  • people with proxy access can book appointments on a patient’s behalf which is useful if support is needed for a patient to attend an appointment
  • patients may be able to choose whether a face to face or telephone appointment is the most appropriate enabling flexibility to fit around their own schedules
  • patients can check their appointment details in the online portal, reducing the potential for missed appointments and the need to reschedule

Barriers to using online appointment booking

NHS England has published guidance on improving access and reducing inequalities in access to GP services. There is also another article in this series on health equalities and digital inclusion . 

Barriers to the use of online appointment booking from a patient perspective include:

  • being unaware of the service and its benefits – practices need to promote online services widely, particularly if demand is high and capacity limited
  • lack of skills or confidence in using IT
  • problems with access or activation of an online account – practice staff need to be able to support patients with this, as it will save practice time in the long run
  • mistrust – being concerned that the system is not secure, and that information may be accessible to others
  • lack of equipment and the infrastructure required for online access

Barriers to the use of online appointment booking from a practice perspective include:

  • capacity issues as demand is likely to outweigh the available appointments
  • inappropriate booking by patients, creating a need for intervention by practice staff. Clear and concise rota and slot descriptions as well as clinic and clinician overviews can go some way to preventing this.

When promoting services, practices should make sure patients know that online access is accessible from a smartphone or tablet and that a personal computer is not needed.

To reassure patients about the security of their information, the practice privacy notice needs to be freely available, for example, on the practice website. The notice explains how the practice uses patients’ data and information.

Staff briefing and training

Although now well-established as a service, staff may occasionally need refresher training, particularly following changes to your system. Existing and new staff will need to understand how the system works and the policies of the practice that relate to online bookings. Staff need to understand how:

  • online appointments are made
  • to inform patients about using online services
  • to register patients for online services including identity verification , proxy access , and safeguarding 
  • to support patients with sensory, intellectual, or other needs such as limited IT literacy
  • to address patient concerns
  • to encourage and explain to patients who telephone or visit the practice that it can be easier and simpler to book online where this is appropriate

Data collection | online appointment booking

Data about online appointment booking has been routinely collected and published by commissioning group area since 2018.  GP systems were, however, originally designed for functionality rather than data collection.  It has become apparent that not all activity at practice level can be classed as an appointment.  Examples include GP admin, referral writing, and reviewing test results.  It has also become obvious that terms to describe slot types vary from practice to practice. 

To ensure that GP appointment data (GPAD) is as accurate as possible, NHS England and the British Medical Association (BMA) have jointly published a set of standardised definitions of appointment and activity types .  

Why activity data is important

Activity data is important as the foundations of ‘fit for purpose’ services today, and for the future.  The NHS needs to be confident that data collected from appointment systems reflects true activity. This helps to:

  • plan capacity and the workforce to improve health and care
  • understand the impact of service changes, for example the use of triage, video contacts and online encounters which were rolled out during the Covid-19 response
  • inform national policy development by giving a true picture of how capacity is used

The appointment mapping process is the start of introducing some uniformity in the baseline data.  NHS England is committed to working with general practice to progress this work to ensure continual refinements.  This will benefit both individual practices and the wider service planning agenda.

Appointment context types

The GP appointment categories are sub-divided in three context types:

  • care related encounter | activity involving contact with a patient, whether a face-to-face appointment, a telephone consultation, a video or online consultation, a home visit, etc.
  • care related activities | activity which does not involve the patient but is about or on behalf of the patient, for example writing a referral or reviewing a test result
  • administration and practice staff activities | which includes all activities and tasks required for managing general practice and its staff

National guidance sets out more information regarding the importance of accurate data collection.

Ensuring that appointments are available to book online is just one step in a series to deliver the vision of digital first primary care as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan .

Related GPG content

  • Identity (ID) verification
  • Proxy access
  • Safeguarding
  • Promoting online services
  • Practice websites
  • Digital skills for patients
  • Health equalities and inclusion

Other helpful resources

  • NHS Digital, GP appointments data dashboard and guidance
  • UK guidance for patients on appointment booking and the NHS App
  • UK guidance for patients on appointments and bookings
  • NHS England, Network Contract Directed Enhanced Services guidance on appointment categorisations 2021/2022
  • NHS England, Support and resource guides aimed largely at GP practices and their staff to provide help and resources to encourage more patients to register for GP online services. Includes useful case studies regarding flu clinic appointments.

Our purpose and values

  • Boots in numbers
  • Boots Brands
  • Omnichannel

Healthcare at Boots

  • Boots Opticians
  • Boots Hearingcare

Company Information

  • Boots Media Group
  • Boots in Nottingham
  • Boots Heritage
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance

Caring for healthier communities

Progressing our sustainable Bootprint

Empowering people and promoting diversity

Existing supplier

Goods for resale

  • Media Resources

You are here: Home Newsroom News Over 85,000 GP visits in England saved through NHS Pharmacy First Service at Boots

Over 85,000 GP visits in England saved through NHS Pharmacy First Service at Boots

  • Boots is delivering over 20,000 Pharmacy First consultations to patients in England per month on average
  • Sore throat and Urinary Tract Infections are the most common conditions that patients are presenting with
  • Boots is seeing an uptick in demand for help with infected insect bites this summer

Boots has delivered over 85,000 NHS Pharmacy First consultations in England since its launch earlier this year, potentially saving as many GP appointments.

Under the NHS Pharmacy First scheme, pharmacies in England can now offer patients access to advice and treatment, including some prescription medicines for seven common conditions: sinusitis, sore throat, earache in children, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, or an uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women.*

Acute sore throat has been the most treated condition to date at Boots under this service, but as the weather improves and people start travelling, Boots is seeing an increase in demand for support for infected insect bites. Boots has already seen a significant increase in patients needing support for infected insect bite cases, with consultations more than tripling from April to May.

Claire Nevinson, Superintendent Pharmacist at Boots, said: “Patients in England have welcomed Pharmacy First as a convenient way to access advice and treatment for a range of common minor conditions. Many consultations were held outside typical GP hours, making it easier for patients to get the care they need, when they need it.”

Boots pharmacists say that Pharmacy First in England allows them to better serve their patients. Shazma Khira, a Pharmacist at a Boots store in Nottingham , recently treated a child with an infected ear. She said: “I must say, as a pharmacist I felt empowered. I could clearly see down the child’s ear and could see it was infected. Previously, I’d need to refer them to GP, but I was able to provide antibiotics myself, and that’s great customer care, from start to finish. The patient’s mum was really happy. She said the time it took her to come down, have the consultation with me and get the antibiotics was very quick and easy.”

The availability of the service and the training Boots has provided its pharmacists to deliver it has also saved lives. Helen Carey, a pharmacist at Boots in Storrington , was able to refer a patient straight to A&E for lifesaving treatment thanks to the training she received to deliver Pharmacy First to patients.

Helen said: “Not long after we started delivering the service a mum came into to see me and told me she had a teenage son at home with a sore throat and was having trouble speaking and wanted to know if it was something we could help with. I asked her to bring him in so that I could see him and examine his throat.

“As soon as he walked through the door, alarm bells rang, he was holding a wastepaper bin and just drooling into it, he could barely speak. Remembering the Pharmacy First training we had at Boots, and the symptoms of epiglottitis, I told his mum to take him immediately to A&E.

“The teenager’s father has recently been in to see me and told me that when they got to A&E, he was seen, and immediately blue-lighted to Brighton as an emergency, as his throat was closing up. He told me that his son might not be here if I hadn’t referred them to the hospital straight away.”

Peter Morgan**, the teenager’s father, said : “On a Saturday morning earlier this year my wife and I were woken by our 16-year-old J, who was clearly in pain, drooling from the mouth, unable to talk and indicating their throat hurt. 

“Thinking it to be a sore throat my wife drove to our local village Boots store in Storrington, with J, to see the on-duty pharmacist, Helen, for advice. Helen examined J and immediately advised taking him straight to A&E in Worthing. 

“On arrival at Worthing, J was seen straight away and within a very short space of time was taken by emergency ambulance to The Children’s Hospital in Brighton. Subsequent tests showed a viral infection was causing J’s airway to swell. J was admitted to hospital overnight and received medicines and treatment. 

“I can’t thank pharmacist Helen enough. In subsequent conversations she advised she knew J wasn’t well at all and needed urgent medical attention. Thank you Boots Storrington – you are a credit to the community.” 

The NHS Pharmacy First Service in England is free at the point of access. Patients are charged for any over the counter medicine purchased and those who receive a prescription medicine and are not eligible for free NHS prescriptions will be charged the standard NHS prescription levy for the medicine. No appointment is needed, and most Boots stores offer a private consultation room in the pharmacy area for confidential discussions about patients’ health concerns.

Boots has around 2,000 stores across the UK and over 80% of the population lives within 10 minutes of a Boots store, most are open at weekends and many after 6pm. 

*Supply of treatment is subject to a suitability assessment. In most stores in England only. Subject to availability and store opening hours. Charges may apply.

**Real name has been changed.

*Figures accurate as of 29 February 2024

gp home visit nhs

What’s new at Boots? Find out the latest updates from the UK’s largest pharmacy-led health and beauty chain – from new products and services to important business developments.

Take a closer look at our team members and the work they do, learn more about our corporate social responsibility initiatives and see how we work behind the scenes.

Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175 th  anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain.  Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on   boots-uk.com .

*Figures accurate as of 30 November 2023

Email a friend

Separate multiple addresses with a comma

If you’d like a downloadable version of this file, please contact:

View your GP health record

Your GP health record includes information about the care you've had from your GP surgery.

When you view your record online, you may only see information that was added recently. If you need to see older information, you'll have to ask your GP surgery to make it visible.

What's not in your GP record

information kept by other services (such as hospitals, dentists and opticians) that has not been sent to your GP – to get this information, you'll need to contact these services directly

How to see all the information in your GP health record

When you view your GP health record online, you should be able to see any information that was added recently.

If you need to see older information in your record (historic record information), you'll have to ask your GP surgery to make it available online.

You can either:

  • email or call your GP surgery and tell them you want to see historical information in your online GP health record
  • mention it to a receptionist at the surgery when you go for your next appointment

Let your GP surgery know if you only need access to something specific in your record (such as previous test results). This can be quicker than getting access to your full historic record.

The surgery will consider your request and make sure there are no issues with making the information available to you (for example, if it could put you or someone else at risk of harm). This can take a few weeks.

If there are no issues with making this information available, you'll be able to see it when you view your GP record online.

View your GP health record using your NHS App or account

You can view your GP health record using the NHS App or by logging into your account on the NHS website.

You can create an account if you do not already have one.

To view your GP record online, you must be:

  • registered with a GP surgery
  • aged 16 or over

When you create an account, you'll need to prove your identity before you can view your GP health record. This helps keep your record secure.

Use other GP online services and apps

You may be able to use other GP online services and apps to view your GP record.

Some services and apps are only available in certain areas. Ask your GP surgery which you can use.

Contact your GP surgery

You can ask for your GP record at your GP surgery. They can give you a printed copy of your record or send you a digital version.

Viewing someone else's GP health record

Find out about accessing someone else's medical records

Non-urgent advice: Contact your GP surgery if:

  • you're unable to see your record
  • information is missing or has disappeared from your record
  • you can only see very recent information in your record and you need to see older information
  • there's incorrect information in your record
  • you can see information that should not be there (for example, you can see information that's not yours)
  • you do not want to be able to see your record
  • someone is pressuring you for information in your record

Email or call the surgery, or speak to a receptionist at the surgery when you go for your next appointment.

Page last reviewed: 8 November 2023 Next review due: 8 November 2026


  1. Download the NHS App

    gp home visit nhs

  2. What is the future of the GP home visit?

    gp home visit nhs

  3. Gp Home Visit Photos and Premium High Res Pictures

    gp home visit nhs

  4. GP Home Visit Merthyr

    gp home visit nhs

  5. GP home visit

    gp home visit nhs

  6. Gp Home Visit Photos and Premium High Res Pictures

    gp home visit nhs


  1. GP home Live Renu is live!


  1. GP services for older people

    Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs. Find information about the services your GP can offer you, and what to do if you're too ill to visit your GP, and what services GP practices should offer people aged 75 and over, and people with long-term conditions.

  2. Appointments and bookings at your GP surgery

    Evening and Saturday appointments. You can see a healthcare professional on: weekday evenings between 6.30pm and 8pm. Saturdays between 9am and 5pm. Call your GP surgery or use their online services to book evening and Saturday appointments. You may be able to get an appointment on the same day. You may be offered an appointment at:

  3. NHS England » Prioritisation of general practice home visits

    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. Patient safety alerts are shared rapidly with healthcare providers via the Central Alerting System (CAS). Patient safety alerts. Date published: 31 March, 2016.

  4. GP home visits: essential patient care or disposable relic?

    The GP home visit has long been regarded as an integral element of NHS general practice that is needed to support both proactive and reactive care to patients in the community.1,2 There are increasing numbers of people living with multimorbidity and frailty, many of whom have complex healthcare needs and limited levels of social support. Now with the new challenges around providing care at ...

  5. GP mythbuster 71: Prioritising home visits

    The British Medical Association (BMA) has produced a COVID-19 toolkit for GPs and GP practices. NHS England issued a patient safety alert to raise awareness of the need to have a system in place to assess: whether a home visit is clinically necessary, and. the urgency of need for medical attention. The alert states that:

  6. PDF General Practitioner Home Visiting Guidelines Revision 5, 01.11

    A patient safety alert was issued in 2016 by NHS England regarding the prioritisation of general practice home visits to assess whether a visit is clinically necessary and the urgency of the response for medical attention. GP practices should have systems in place to triage and prioritise home visits. It is

  7. How to register with a GP surgery

    reviews of the surgery. Once you've chosen a surgery, you'll need to fill in a registration form. These are usually available on: the NHS App. the GP surgery's website. the GP surgery's profile page on the NHS website ( Find a GP) You can also get a paper form from the surgery. It's also possible to register with a GP surgery outside your local ...

  8. Registering with a GP surgery outside your local area

    Registering with a GP surgery outside your local area can affect the NHS services that you can access including: home visits and urgent care from your GP, including out of hours care. community services, such as physiotherapy and midwife appointments. Ask your GP to explain any alternative arrangements for these services when you register.

  9. Arrange a GP Home Visit

    You can arrange for a GP or Healthcare Professional to see you by booking a home visit online. You can also be visited at home by a community nurse if you are referred by your GP/Healthcare professional. You should be visited at home by a health visitor if you have recently had a baby or if you are newly registered with a GP and have a child ...

  10. GP-led home visits

    The committee noted that urgent home visits would normally be undertaken either by the GP or by a nurse practitioner and accompanied by a dedicated driver from a locally commissioned provider; co-operative of GPs, community NHS Trust or private company. Home visits will generally take about 40-60 minutes (including travel) whereas most surgery ...

  11. Chapter 6 GP-led home visits

    At a cost of £233 for an ambulance conveyance and £132 for an ED attendance (source: NHS Reference costs), a primary care-led home visit, if appropriate, is likely to be less costly. The committee concluded that there was no clear evidence to confirm or refute the cost-effectiveness of primary care visits.

  12. Patient guidance for home visit appointments :: Central London ...

    4. If you are unwell or have symptoms of COVID-19. If you feel unwell and think it might be COVID-19 related, please inform our staff by telephone before they visit your home. If you feel unwell and need advice, contact NHS 111 by ringing freephone 111 or visiting the NHS 111 website 111.nhs.uk. You can use the NHS 111 online tool.

  13. Time to rejuvenate the relic of home visits

    There is an increasing use of medical equipment in home settings 3 and with personal health budgets 4 available for some NHS patients, carers will be able to monitor a patient's vital signs with adequate support. Thus, potentially reducing the number of home visits carried out by GPs. ... Home visits with the GP are one of the most ...

  14. PDF Patient Safety Alert

    for a GP home visit. Moderate harm - A random sample of 100 reports was provided on request; on review 6 included information . relating to a request for a GP home visit. Infrastructure - this yielded a total of 36 reports; on review 1 included information relating to a request for a GP . home visit. Stakeholder engagement

  15. Seeing a general practitioner (GP) in the UK

    While your visit to an NHS GP is free, you will most likely have to pay for any medicines that the doctor prescribes. Some items, such as contraceptives and drugs prescribed for hospital in-patients, are always free. Otherwise, you will have to pay £9.35 for each item on your prescription. The NHS guide to prescription charges explains this ...

  16. Find a GP

    How to register with a GP surgery. Registering with a GP surgery outside the area you live. Find a GP near you on the NHS website. Check your local GPs opening times, services and facilities, performance measures, reviews and ratings.

  17. GP Home Visit Mileage

    Claims under this provision can be made where there is a clearly defined expectation that a home visit will be undertaken which should be reflected in the personalised work schedule. The claim will cover the cost of home to place of work and return journey. The reserve rate of 28 p per mile will apply. On days where doctors working in a GP ...

  18. Toolkit

    LocumDeck. About. Resources. Contact Us. ‪0161 504 8999‬. [email protected]. FAQ: Toolkit | Checklist for home visits. Home visits are some of the most complicated activities that GPs do. Away from electronic records, usually after a busy surgery, through traffic, to sick or frail patients, often with multiple problems and anxious carers.

  19. NHS England » Patient safety alert

    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: the urgency of need for medical attention. This can be undertaken, for example, by telephoning the patient or carer in ...

  20. Consultation skills

    Preparation and research will help to ensure a sense of readiness when making home visits, says Dr Peter Reeves. ... Wellbeing in the NHS and how to develop mental resilience 7 Jun 2024 GP training: Consulting with the 'worried well' 6 Jun 2024 ...

  21. Visits to NHS website's hay fever page more than double

    The NHS website is the UK's biggest health website with an estimated 2.1 million visits a day in 2023 from people seeking information and advice. It includes over 4,000 pages and provides information about 990 medical conditions as well other health services including applying for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card for healthcare cover ...

  22. GP home visits: essential patient care or disposable relic?

    The GP home visit has long been regarded as an integral element of NHS general practice that is needed to support both proactive and reactive care to patients in the community. 1, 2 There are increasing numbers of people living with multimorbidity and frailty, many of whom have complex healthcare needs and limited levels of social support.

  23. NHS wait times in Chelmsford are 'not good enough', says Lib Dem candidate

    NHS is top of people's issues on the doorstep - according to a Lib Dem candidate who was speaking at a visit by party leader Ed Davey. Marie Goldman , who is standing for the Chelmsford ...

  24. Four things we learned from BBC Radio Derby's election debate

    Two voters in the Derby South area asked about the current state of the NHS, including waiting lists, hiring more staff and funding. Baggy Shanker, for Labour, said his party's ambition was to ...

  25. nhs.uk

    Object Moved This document may be found here

  26. Teesside's innovative NHS heart service receives high praise from ...

    The 69 year old's journey started with a telephone assessment, followed by a visit to the one-stop clinic at the University Hospital of North Tees where he was examined by a nurse practitioner.

  27. Vladimir Putin's latest escalation has hit far too close to home

    Russian hackers have caused chaos in the NHS and put patients in danger. This month, one of the most serious cyber attacks we have ever faced hit London hospitals and GP surgeries by locking ...

  28. NHS England » Online appointment booking

    NHS England, Network Contract Directed Enhanced Services guidance on appointment categorisations 2021/2022; NHS England,Support and resource guides aimed largely at GP practices and their staff to provide help and resources to encourage more patients to register for GP online services. Includes useful case studies regarding flu clinic appointments.

  29. Over 85,000 GP visits in England saved through NHS Pharmacy First

    Over 85,000 GP visits in England saved through NHS Pharmacy First Service at Boots. Boots is delivering over 20,000 Pharmacy First consultations to patients in England per month on average; Sore throat and Urinary Tract Infections are the most common conditions that patients are presenting with

  30. View your GP health record

    View your GP health record using your NHS App or account. You can view your GP health record using the NHS App or by logging into your account on the NHS website. You can create an account if you do not already have one. To view your GP record online, you must be: registered with a GP surgery. aged 16 or over. When you create an account, you'll ...