Our medical director has rejected claims that vulnerable and needy people wouldn’t suffer from proposals to remove home visits from doctors’ contracts, saying it is “exactly those groups” who would be worse off under the plans.

Dr Simon Gillson has spoken out after GP leaders voted in favour of a motion to remove home visits from the core GP contract at a conference in London last week.

Kent GP Dr Andrew Parkin, who proposed the motion, said home visits take up the most time of anything for doctors and the plans would improve care for elderly and vulnerable patients.

But Dr Gillson said home visits were time-consuming for a reason, and are a bedrock of care for patients with multiple or complex conditions.

He said: “We have been told the most vulnerable and needy patients will not be disadvantaged by this but it is exactly those groups who are going to suffer.

“There are often elderly people with multiple illnesses who rely on home visits and are not easy cases to deal with. It is those patients who need a GP with a breadth of experience to be visiting them at home.”

The passing of the vote means the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) will be obliged to negotiate for the removal of home visits in contract discussions but admitted it was “highly unlikely” the plan would be accepted by NHS England.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has since said the proposals are a “complete non-starter,” while the Royal College of GPs has described them as a “core part” of general practice.

Dr Gillson added: “Home visits are time-consuming for a reason. Seeing a patient at home will enable you to find out things you could never find out elsewhere, simply by being with them in the home environment and seeing how they live with their conditions.

“A home visit is not the same as spending five or 10 minutes with a patient on their best behaviour at a GP practice.”