GPs have risen to the challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic ‘heroically’, the RCGP’s chair has said.
Professor Martin Marshall used the RCGP conference, which this year took place virtually, to take a swipe at ‘armchair critics’ who have diminished the efforts of general practice.
He told delegates: ‘[The last] eight months, it’s been a bit of a challenge. But it’s a challenge which general practice has risen to heroically.
‘General practice has coped – more than that, we’ve shown our mettle and we’ve more than played our part.’
He added that ‘armchair critics’ claiming that practices are not open have left him ‘livid’ because they have damaged GP morale and said he will continue to defend GPs against ‘unwarranted criticisms’.
He said: ‘The data very clearly demonstrates how open we are – we are seeing the same number of patients as we were seeing this time last year and more patients than what we were seeing before the Covid pandemic in January.’
Speaking at the same conference, health secretary Matt Hancock praised GPs’ hard work ‘away from the public eye’ and once again pledged to cut bureaucracy for practices.
Earlier this week, an open letter from grassroots GPs highlighting the profession’s concern about ‘inaccurate and harmful’ media messages about access to care garnered over 400 signatures.
However, the ongoing advice from NHS England is that practices should remotely triage all patients whilst the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
Last week, Pulse exclusively revealed that both NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and health minister Jo Churchill have met with the BMA’s GP Committee regarding the letter about face-to-face GP appointments, the press release and subsequent media coverage.