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GP practices can ask walk-in patients to ‘wait outside’ if no space in reception, says NHSE

GP practices can ask walk-in patients to ‘wait outside’ if no space in reception, says NHSE

NHS England has said that GP practices can ask walk-in patients to ‘wait outside’ if reception space is ‘constrained’.

It comes as the BMA last week warned that many GP practices are ‘not yet safe’ for walk-in patients due to unsuitable reception areas.

It followed new NHS England guidance last month that said GP patients must now be offered face-to-face appointments if that is their preference and receptions must be open for walk-ins.

In an update to its ‘access to general practice communications toolkit’ on Friday, NHS England acknowledged that practices are ‘working differently’ to ‘keep people safe’.

It added: ‘Patients should also have the option of coming to the practice in person while adhering to social distancing and IPC guidance. 

‘Receptions will not yet feel like they did pre-pandemic – for example where space is very constrained, patients may be asked to wait outside.’

However, the toolkit reiterated that it is a priority to be ‘clear that practices are open and that face-to-face appointments remain available to patients’.

NHS England added: ‘General practice is here for you, but how you contact your GP surgery might be different at the moment. Face-to-face appointments are available to patients where there is a clinical need. 

‘If you have a strong preference that your consultation is carried out face-to-face then please talk to your practice. You will be asked to first discuss your conditions over the phone or online with a member of the healthcare team to assess what would be most appropriate for you and which practice member would best provide it.’

The update also added the word ‘need’ to its template answerphone message, which tells patients to wear a face covering ‘if you need to come into the surgery’.

GPs have warned that many Covid-symptomatic patients are now attending face-to-face appointments having only had a negative rapid lateral flow test (LFT), putting GPs and staff at risk.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 7 June, 2021 10:46 pm

NHSE also advises you give waiting patients umbrellas and hot chocolate outside. And that you should use 3 ply toilet tissue, Fairy liquid as the other brands don’t lather that well, to use energy efficient light bulbs and only Blue Tak (not the cheap white one from Poundland, because that’s quite rubbish). Today’s consultation was of acne – she was also covid + from the weekend. In NHSEs blind world, they wanted her sitting in a waiting room, probably with an online FF booking and for the whole team to be none the wiser.

Douglas Callow 8 June, 2021 4:26 pm

FFS really Stating the bleeding obvious after the fact is neither clever or smart
Issue is the public can see everywhere else is open so its quite easy for bombs to be thrown when surgery doors are closed This whole episode has been damaging to all bar the politicians