Doctors backed the idea to scrap GP home visits from their contracts, arguing that there was a lack of time to deliver the service.
The vote which took place on November 22 at a British Medical Association (BMA) conference, has since been ruled out by the health secretary, Matt Hancock.
Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The idea that people shouldn’t be able, when they need it, to have a home visit from a GP is a complete non-starter and it won’t succeed in their negotiations.”
An independent body working with the BMA to help to shape policy argued that, “GPs no longer have the capacity to offer home visits.”
GP numbers have fallen by 1,000 despite a government promise to recruit 5,000 more GPs by 2020.
In order to prevent losing more doctors and attract more to join the contract, the contract assures financial incentives.
Earlier this year, GP practices were funded to employ an extra 22,000 non-medical staff and nurses with the intention to give GPs more time to have longer appointment with patients with complex, and multiple conditions.
NHS England has recently announced ‘core funding increases will also support more practice nurses and GPs, with the number of young doctors training to become general practitioners at a record high’
The only body which represents all GPs in the UK, General Practitioners Committee (GPC) also voted to negotiate a separate critical service for urgent visits.
The turnout which had many speakers on both sides was 54 per cent for to and 46 per cent against.
The vote means the GPC will be given authority to negotiate this in contract negotiations. However, in the debate, the GPC said ‘NHS was unlikely to accept these proposals.’
Andy Buck, a retired chef from Haringey in London, told Raven news: “I think it’s absolutely essential GPs keep offering home visits, I’m now at an age where I’m not always fit enough to attend my GP practice in person.”