What type of doctors bag should you use for visiting patients? A guide by DrGandalf

The debate on what type of bag you should use when visiting patients rages on. In this video I show you my choices and what you should consider when buying a visiting bag as a doctor.

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So which type of doctors bag should you consider?

There are generally two schools of thought on this:

  • a hard bag
  • not a hard bag

The clear benefit of a hard bag is the fact it can be used as a seat for home visits. Additionally, the more robust nature can imitate security for contents and rarely personal security. Whether hard or soft, in terms of cost this may vary from bargain basement rucksack from your local shop to designer medical or retail bags including maternity bags.


In reality what you truly need is simply a comfortable bag to carry, with several pockets, somewhere to keep paperwork and ideally a lock on one compartment if you plan on carrying FP10 prescriptions and/or meds.

What type of doctors bag should you use for visiting patients

The bags I mention and more:

The Merlin Morgan bag – was my first doctor’s bag. Really large, robust and more pockets than a magician (hence the name I guess). I now use it as my camera bag.

Alternatives are the Gima utility bag with a packet which a colleague has used for a while. The extra packet is useful for keeping medications and small items in. Alternately an effective camera bag can be a great choice as a doctor’s visiting bag and on several forums, these are often the preferred options my many.

My first Hi-Tec rucksack visit bag was ok but my current Hi-Tec visiting bag is much better. It has lasted me about 4 years now, is large enough to carry everything I need but still small enough to be portable and functional. The material could be better padded and insulated, an issue in cold weather which can affect equipment working like thermometers.

Trainee bag- Duragadget This is the doctors bag we have for our trainees. It is similar to the Hi-Tec bag above but solves the insulation issue. It is also waterproof.

Harder bags like pilot chest are preferred by many given they are more robust and business like.

Or makeup chests can be a great option if you want a really solid bag that you can also sit on. the multiple compartments make this really useful.

Kipling bags: and Mulberry bags are good fashion bags that can be effective as a visit bag. NOt my particular preference but often a good choice and ones several colleagues have used.

IYASU is a company that is looking to make visit bags specifically designed for doctors in the UK. Keep an eye out for more information.

f you want to know what to put in your doctor’s bag check out my equipment posts below. 

Best value doctors bag and equipment

If you want to sort your bag and equipment easily then have a look at this list. Combined it makes a total GP kit for less than £150 with allowing £10 for extra consumables and better value than these full set options at over £400!

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