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GPs have risen to Covid challenge ‘heroically’, says RCGP chair

GPs have risen to Covid challenge ‘heroically’, says RCGP chair

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.

NHS England landed itself in hot water with GPs last month after it issued a press release to national newspapers suggesting GPs were not offering face-to-face appointments where necessary.

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.



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

John Graham Munro 23 October, 2020 12:48 pm


Andi Williams 23 October, 2020 1:12 pm

gong no gong going soon to be gone. retirement next year. left rcgp by the way cause i don’t need you anymore. not that you did much in the first place. but thanks to you and the bma i have done nearly 40 years of work for 30 years of pay. Any chance i could have the TOIL back – prefer cash.

Patrufini Duffy 23 October, 2020 2:46 pm

It has come to a critical point as to what is the raison d’etre of the RCGP – it has somewhat established itself as an intangible and inert entity.