Minimising the spread of the virus remains a top priority as many GP practices prepare to open for face-to-face consultations again, says College

Publication date: 03 July 2020

Dr Jonathan Leach, Honorary Secretary for the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams have been working hard throughout the pandemic delivering care to both patients with COVID and those with non-COVID conditions.

General practice has completely changed the way it works, with the majority of GPs providing care to our patients remotely in line with official advice, and for very good reasons: to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community and keep GPs, our teams and our patients as safe as possible.

'These new ways of working have allowed GPs and our teams to continue delivering the vast majority of NHS patient contacts during the crisis, alleviating pressures on our colleagues across the NHS as we do in normal times thus helping to avoid hospitals becoming overwhelmed. When face-to-face appointments have been necessary – for example, when a physical examination has been needed or a child has required a vaccination - practices have put arrangements in place to safely facilitate this and GPs have continued to do home visits.

'While patients have been receptive to the changes in the way they have accessed care during the pandemic, we are aware that some patients, including those with complex conditions, prefer seeing their GP in person, and this is a preference for many GPs as well. Patients understand the need for an overall balance of remote and face to face consultations during the crisis, and many patients have found the new ways of working helpful and more convenient as they haven’t had to travel to a surgery for their consultation. Current official advice continues to be for general practice services to be delivered remotely, where possible, but practices are making plans for when the guidance changes, and when it does, minimising the spread of the virus and keeping patients and staff safe will remain a top priority.'

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 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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