Health secretary Matt Hancock has thanked GPs for their ‘monumental effort’ in providing care and vaccinating patients during the Covid pandemic.
In a message to GPs sent through the RCGP, Mr Hancock said GPs have been ‘instrumental in helping our health system to stand firm’ throughout the pandemic, and labelled general practice the ‘bedrock of our NHS’.
He said: ‘You are also playing a vital part in delivering the vaccination programme that we know provides the way out of this crisis. Three quarters of Covid vaccine doses were delivered in primary care.
‘The fact we have been able to vaccinate 18 million of the UK’s most vulnerable people in just eleven weeks, as well as delivering the biggest flu vaccination campaign ever, is testament to your incredible efforts.’
Mr Hancock added: ‘I want to thank everyone for this monumental effort, including the hundreds of returners who rejoined the ranks.’
He added that he is ‘grateful’ GPs showed flexibility in response to the crisis, for example, in embracing remote consultations, adding that there have been ‘positive changes that we want to take forward’.
He said: ‘As the vaccination programme gives us hope, we must now look at how we can build back better and shape a system that can better serve people in a fast-changing world. You have a huge part to play in this mission and I want to work with you to make it happen.’
In the letter, sent on Thursday last week, Mr Hancock also referred to the proposals set out in the Health and Care Bill last month, stating that the changes ‘will help you improve the health of the communities where you work’, and that the Government wants GPs to play a leadership role in the new ICSs.