Publication date: 01 March 2020

Dr Jonathan Leach, Honorary Secretary for the Royal College of GPs, said: "NHS 111 is playing a vital role in helping to keep Covid-19 contained and should the situation intensify, demand will inevitably increase and this must be matched with appropriate resources, including clinical and non-clinical staff.

"Official advice for patients who have symptoms of Covid-19 and have been to an infected area or in contact with someone who has, is to call NHS 111 for instructions. This is right and sensible advice, but if people are unable to get through because of call volume, as some reports suggest, they will start to lose confidence in the service and go to the GP practice or A&E, which they absolutely should not do.

"We are in an ever-changing situation but the most important thing is to keep it in perspective and not to be alarmed. If they have symptoms, it is still most likely that they have the flu or a common cold.

"It's vital that everyone is on the same page about Covid-19 and GPs are following advice from relevant authorities, such as Public Health England (PHE) and equivalent organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7494/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 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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