Medical deputizing explained

National Home Doctor is the largest network of home visiting Doctors in Canada. The service we provide is also known in medical circles as a "Medical Deputizing Service". The term reflects the idea that Doctors working in the after hours are 'deputizing' for daytime Family Practitioners.

About medical deputising


Complementing Family Practice

Medical Deputizing Services provide urgent after hours primary health care to patients at home and in aged care facilities, on behalf of the patient’s regular Family Doctor. This ensures that patients have 24 hour access to quality primary care, even when their doctor is unavailable.

Working as a complementary service to Family Practice, we ensure continuity of care for patients. Our Doctors send a patient report through to the patient’s regular doctor so they are kept informed of the home visit. Our service encourages all patients to maintain a strong relationship with a family doctor, recognizing that this is critical for lifelong health. To read more about why it’s important to have your own Family Doctor, click here


In the last decade, Medical Deputizing Services have grown in response to community demand for after hours medical care. Surveys among our patients consistently show that if they could not access an after hours home visit, around 40% believe they would have attended a hospital Emergency Room (ER). Services like National Home Doctor not only relieve the pressure on hospital ERs, they also save the taxpayer money, as an after hours visit is far less costly than a trip to ER or an ambulance call out.


Our service is focused on patients with an acute, episodic illness who need urgent medical attention. It is not for emergencies, (go to hospital) and it is not for routine care (go to your family doctor when they are next open). Nor do we manage chronic disease, unless a patient needs urgent attention; chronic disease management requires the ongoing care of Family Practice.

The majority of our patients are either very young (babies and children under 4 years of age) or very old (residents of senior care facilities, for example). The conditions our Doctors typically see in the after hours include common illnesses such as respiratory tract infections, asthma flare ups, urinary tract infections, gastroenteritis, skin infections, ear ache and migraine: illnesses that, while not emergencies, may require urgent attention from a Doctor.

More than half the calls to our service are made not by the patients themselves, but by carers. This may be the worried parents of sick children, the husband or wife of a sick partner, the carer of an ageing relative, or the nurses or clinical managers in an aged care facility.