This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

Top GP joins Number 10 daily briefing to urge patients to visit GP

NHS England's primary care medical director Dr Nikki Kanani co-led today’s daily coronavirus briefing from Number 10 Downing Street, using her platform to urge the nation to see their GP if needed.

It is the first time the GP has featured in the daily events, and saw Dr Kanani standing alongside housing and communities secretary Robert Jenrick MP, and Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England.

Dr Kanani’s message was one of reiterating to the public that primary care services remain open for use, even if delivered in a non-traditional format.

She said: ‘I wanted to reassure people who are listening and watching today that your primary care services are still there for you.

‘I want to pay tribute to our GP practices and our general practice teams, our dentists, our optometrists, the unsung heroes of community pharmacists on the high street, who have continued to work day after day and make sure that they’re there for you.

‘This Bank Holiday, they’ll be open as well.

‘And it might feel a little bit different - you might have more telephone calls or online video consultations; you might see someone dressed in PPE, as I was yesterday in my surgery.

'But you must know that your NHS is still there for you, so please come and contact us if you need advice or support over the coming weeks and months.’ 

She later thanked those who have returned from retirement and said that the NHS is now looking at ways of retaining them, whether they will work with their local practices, or remotely.

Mr Jenrick also paid tribute to primary care teams.

Dr Kanani further acknowledged that ‘right across the NHS’, people are ‘experiencing stress and strain’, and she mentioned personal challenges during this period, including having a family member who is shielding and having to home-school her children.

Yesterday, Dr Kanani fronted the #HelpUsHelpYou campaign disseminating the same message.


Later in the session, PHE's Professor Doyle referenced primary care services such as smoking cessation and immunisations, of which uptake has declined since the offset of the pandemic.

She stated: ‘Just one concern, is, of course, that where services have had to stop, for instance immunisation or smoking cessation, that we actually move as soon as we can when it's safe to re-establish the preventive services as well.’ 

Dr Kanani has previously told GPs it is fine to get 'creative' to carry on 'vital' immunisations.

Comments on this article have been disabled. We have received a number of complaints about the comments on this story.

It is completely acceptable to criticise NHS England and health ministers for their policies and actions. However, the vast majority of these comments were aimed at the person, which is unacceptable. 

Readers' comments (9)

  • This comment has been removed by the moderator

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been removed by the moderator

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been removed by the moderator

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been removed by the moderator

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Where's Optimus?

    This comment has been removed by the moderator

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Where's Optimus?

    This comment has been removed by the moderator

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Where's Optimus?

    This comment has been removed by the moderator

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The politicians have lost their nerve, Society has lost its sense of perspective and how to live with risk

    I too am utterly fed up with being told by doctors in DH who have no skin in the game about general practice. We were plagued by bananaman a PSMO in DH who used to bang on reminding us that he USED to be a GP principal...............Yes pre 1990 and NO COMPARISON

    BTW NK is FACTUALLY incorrect in saying the dentists are open then? I don't think so. The UDC in Derbyshire has barely seen 100 patients, most dentists are closed and quietly going bankrupt

    I was talking with my dental surgeon brother. We are all aware of the importance of good oral health and its contribution towards the defence mechanisms of the body and that includes C-19. Currently the only dental treatment available is antibiotics and extraction and dentists are going bust whilst I inadequately prescribe analgesics.

    Remember 70% of the causes of facial pain are dental in origin and not just infective causes at that. Dental Surgeons have been well aware of infection and AGP well before the average doctor was… I used to build dental scavenging systems in the 1970s to deal with exactly that see front inside cover Sheffield Dental School propectus 1970- 2012 to se what a proper model dental operatory looks like!!

    Then I thought about things (the 1919- 2009 figures are drawn from government papers)

    1918 Spanish flu several waves 25% of the population had symptoms. 4% needed (got) hospital admission. 2% died

    1957 Influenza one wave 30% of the population got symptoms (75% in my house) 0.55% hospitalised and 0.15% deaths

    1968 HK influenza 35% of the population got it 0.55% hospitalised 0.3% deaths (ran through my prep school of 120 in 3 days)

    2009 H1N1 Less than 5% needed treatment and there were few deaths

    2020 C-19 Government says 26097 deaths = 38.4 per 100,000 population implied population therefore just shy of 68 million as at 28 April Early government estimate was 0.1% of the population would get C19 but some estimates are up to 4 million infected at 4 million infected that would be a 0.00652% death rate

    Remember in 1957 and 1968 you had a sick note physically issued at Day 1 of sickness. I remember my GP, a family friend telling me when I was considering becoming a GP, that he did 20/25 visits a day during the flu outbreaks really just to issue certificates but the point is that these numbers were eyeballed by a clinician at the time.

    In 2020 with self-certification and no widespread current test of exposure/infection we really dont know what the real prevalence is but if it is as high as 4 million people then the infection rate is just under 6%!

    To be at the 1968 HK levels would imply 23.8 million infected. Given we were slow off the mark with lockdown we have no idea but OK at current death rates it would mean 155,000 deaths if that were the case but how many are actually simply the terminal event in very longstanding chronic illness which of itself was not survivable in 1968 or might not have survived next winters flu aka the old persons friend? I get the point about keeping the peak down so the ITU can cope

    Now the point of my proposition is are we so close to the problem that we can’t see the elephant in the room?

    My family have been dental surgeons continuously in Sheffield since the 19th century, my brother's practice was established by my grandfather in 1907, ,taken over by my parents in 1951 and by my brother in 1985. Nobody in my family has died of infection and none of their staff likewise. My grandfather largely practised in the pre antibiotic era operating without problem even in 1920 (and yes his best friend the local GP died from sepsis in 1936 having been inoculated by a dirty instrument recorded in the BMA Chesterfield division archives!). Yes, Mother and Father had nasty 1957 flu and I was banned downstairs for 5 days (I can just remember that) they avoided polio in 1951 and TB despite providing an active dental service to the local TB sanitorium. My brother has worked and avoided Hepatitis A, Hep B, Hep C Hep E HIV and all the other infectious threats of the past 35 years. The average general dental practitioner is MUCH more used to and better at infection control than the average GMP.

    So, is the continuation of this lockdown a party-political ploy to detract from the fact that government have ignored professional advice for many years at the altar of austerity/ a policy of the medical profession is not to be trusted post 1990?

    Is it because politicians can no longer peddle the comforting thought to a risk averse unthinking public (that has never seen scale of death unlike our antecedents) that they can insulate the public from the fact that life is a risk from conception to death.? IS IT BECAUSE POLITICIANS ARE FRIGHTENED OF HAVING TO ADMIT THE TRUTH FOR ONCE THAT THEY ARE POWERLESS IN THE GRAND SCALE OF THINGS?

    Many colleagues have given their lives in this C-19 outbreak because of insufficient PPE caused by Treasury parsimony over the years and that is not right, but if we don’t go back to work soon there won’t be an economy worthy of the name able to deliver a tax take to support the NHS we all want. A well-functioning properly resourced NHS would be a fitting if inadequate tribute for their ultimate sacrifice.

    Are we trying to defeat nature rather than rub along with it? Sheffield Medical School Day1 Lecture 1 You cannot defeat nature.

    What are our views about the route back to work for everyone

    Just saying………and playing devil’s advocate!


    Peter Holden
    (DoI I am joint landlord of my brother's surgery premises)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been removed by the moderator

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say