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BMA September 2021 Posted on 9 Jun 2023

The narrative that GPs are refusing to see patients face-to-face is as dangerous, as it is inaccurate, and that is why it is so disappointing to see most recently, your public support for the Daily Mail’s campaign and repeated comments elsewhere. The reality, as you must know, is that with the constraints of the size of GP practice premises, there are limits on how many people can safely be present in a waiting room while adhering to appropriate infection control measures. GP practices, in the same way as hospitals, are using telephone, video and online consultations to assess patients (in accordance with NHS England guidance) and provide them with physical face-to-face consultations when this is needed. Many practice premises are too small and poorly ventilated, and with high circulating levels of Covid, we have a duty to protect our older and clinically vulnerable patients from becoming infected when they attend their GP surgery.

In addition, there are simply too few GPs and practice staff in under resourced premises to meet the huge surge in demand that practices are currently experiencing, which will be exacerbated by the Covid vaccination booster programme. Telephone triage is one way that practices are keeping their head above water to ensure that patients see the right health professional and make appropriate use of GP time.

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