GP surgeries 'must have a system to prioritise home visits'

NHS England patient safety alert calls for urgent action after 11 serious incidents in two years

A new patient safety alert advises GP surgeries to urgently review how they prioritise home visits.

The alert, issued by NHS England, follows the death of a patient after a GP was not made aware of the person's recent hospital discharge and severity of their condition. A relative of the patient had contacted the GP to request a home visit because the patient’s condition had deteriorated.

The safety alert said: 'The home visit doctor was unaware of the patient’s recent discharge from hospital and the severity of their condition. At the time, the practice did not have a system in place to prioritise home visits. The GP visited other patients that afternoon and did not have time to see this patient until the evening. However, before the GP arrived the patient had collapsed and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance and subsequently died.'

NHS England identified 11 similar incidents over a recent two-year period.

The alert recommends reviewing training needs for all general practice staff.

Read the patient safety alert here

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