College responds to Daily Telegraph article suggesting GPs abandoned untested COVID patients

Publication date: 08 July 2020

Saturday’s Daily Telegraph featured an article suggesting GPs abandoned untested COVID patients. We issued a statement to the Telegraph which has been published in full today.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “To accuse GPs of ‘abandoning’ patients and not taking their symptoms seriously is grossly unfair and will only further demoralise the thousands of hardworking GPs who are helping to keep the NHS going during this crisis.

“GPs cannot carry out tests for COVID-19 because they are not part of the testing process. However, this College has led the calls for GPs to be able to arrange tests, as they would for many other conditions, and for test results to be automatically uploaded to GP records, not only to minimise the spread of the virus but so that we can work with our patients to plan their recovery.

“It has been ‘business as usual’ in general practice throughout the pandemic, with GPs delivering care to patients with COVID and non-COVID conditions – including referrals for tests and scans where hospitals are offering them - as well as carrying on with valuable preventive work such as the childhood vaccination programme. Our new ways of remote working, necessitated by Government guidelines, have enabled GPs and our teams to continue delivering the vast majority of NHS patient contacts during the crisis, thereby preventing the rest of the health service from being overwhelmed.

“GPs are well aware of the many long-term and debilitating effects of the virus - mental and emotional as well as physical - and it is general practice that will be at the forefront of picking up the pieces and helping our patients rebuild their lives over the coming months and years. Unwarranted and ill-informed criticisms of our profession at such a difficult time are inexcusable.” 

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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