NHS England has claimed that the RCGP backed its letter asking GPs to offer all patients face-to-face appointments if that is their preference.
But in a comment published by The Times today, NHS England said the RCGP had ‘welcomed’ the new guidance.
An NHS England spokesperson told the newspaper: ‘NHS guidance, making sure that patients can access face-to-face appointments, has been widely welcomed by patient groups as well as GPs themselves, including GPs’ own Royal College.’
And in its letter to practices, NHS England referenced the RCGP twice as part of its rationale for issuing the guidance.
He called for ‘clarity, detail and guidance’ on how ‘normal services can be delivered in a safe and pragmatic way that clearly recognises the pressures that general practices are operating under’ as well as ‘time’, ‘support’ and ‘flexibility’ to implement the changes.
However, he added that it is ‘encouraging that our calls for shared decision making between GP and patient on the most appropriate method of consultation seem to have been heard’.
Asked whether it intended to push back on NHS England’s claim it supported the letter, an RCGP spokesperson told Pulse the college had nothing to add at this time.
Although the RCGP did not dispute NHS England’s claim, its former chair, Dr Maureen Baker, said on Twitter it ‘most certainly did not welcome’ NHS England’s letter.