GP pressures action plan

Publication date: 03 March 2020

Dr Steve Mowle, Honorary Treasurer of the Royal College of GPs, said: "General practice is a profession working under huge resource and workforce pressures. Currently, the impact of Covid-19 doesn't seem to be specifically contributing to this significantly, but as the situation escalates, as it is expected to, we're going to need to have serious conversations about which tasks to prioritise over others and whether there are any we can stop doing temporarily to create capacity to deal with Covid-19.

"It will be essential that GPs and our teams are working safely, and have access to any necessary protective equipment, for the sake of our own health and our patients'.

"The Government plans today are welcome – they outline worst case scenarios, which might never need to be implemented, but it’s sensible to think them through. We await more details about how some initiatives, such as using retired medics to help, will work in practice. The NHS has done well to contain Covid-19 in the UK, so far, and it has a good track record of dealing with emergency situations - we will of course, be monitoring the situation closely.

"We are currently still in containment phase, so we're urging people who think they may have Covid-19 to contact NHS 111 and not go to their GP practice or A&E. If a patient does present in a GP surgery, our teams have been well-briefed to isolate them where possible and then refer to current PHE guidelines.

"The best advice for patients is not to be alarmed. It is still more likely that anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms will have the flu or a bad cold, not Covid-19 – and for those who do catch the virus, for the vast majority of people, it will be a mild illness that they will get better from.

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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