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​GP home visits under threat

November 20, 2019

Action for M.E. has raised serious concerns with every Local Medical Committee (LMC) following the announcement of a motion at their conference by Kent LMC to stop home visits by GPs. LMCs are the independent bodies who work with the British Medical Association to shape policy.

If successful, the motion which will be debated at the LMC conference on 22 November could stop people with M.E./CFS who are severely affected from having home visits from their GP. In our letter to each LMC Sonya Chowdhury, Chief Executive said:

“…one in four people with M.E. are severely affected by the condition. They are left house or bed bound, unable to properly care for themselves or even wash properly, sometimes for many years at a time. Action for M.E. carried out a survey that was completed by 4038 people with M.E. and the results from those who are severely affected found that 65% said that being too ill was a barrier to accessing NHS services. 60% are also unable to leave their home independently and 97% said that they feel socially isolated because of their condition.

“A patient’s trust in their GP is an important factor in ensuring they receive the necessary support. M.E./CFS can vary considerably from patient to patient and it can take a number of consultations for a GP to understand the condition and how it affects them. If home visits from GPs are stopped and replaced by a different service, those who are housebound would be instantly disadvantaged.

“Home visits are essential in ensuring that a person who is severely affected is receiving the care appropriate to their needs. It is an essential part of safeguarding a vulnerable child or adult and also enables the patient’s GP an opportunity to meet those who provide immediate care.”

We are urging each LMC to reject the motion put forward to ensure people who are severely affected are not disadvantaged even further. We will share updates on this once the result of the vote is known.

Update 25/11/2019:

Local Medical Committee motion to stop home visits passes.

"As a result of the motion being passed, the part of the BMA which represents English GPs - GPC England - will be instructed to negotiate the new policy with NHS England."

We will continue to voice our concerns over restrictions to services for the most severely affected in our community.

You can read more about this motion in this article by the BBC.

As this policy progresses we will continue to share information and updates on our website and social media.