The vast majority of GPs have say that Covid-19 has hampered the patient care they are able to provide, a report from the General Medical Council has found.
Four in five GPs responding to a survey of the profession said issues connecting with secondary care, referral processes and the fact that some other parts of the health service paused during the first lockdown made it difficult to provide sufficient levels of care to patients.
The GMC annual state of medical education and practice report found that 43% of GPs were hitting these barriers every week.
However, while GPs are still the most likely group of doctors to have a moderate to high risk of burnout this has fallen from 45% to 28% since 2019, the GMC reported.
The report also highlighted the stark changes in working practices with 80% per cent of GPs who responded to the survey said they were working remotely more often, with fewer face-to-face consultations.
More than half of GPs taking part in the barometer survey reported the pandemic as being a positive driver for implementing change such as greater use of telemedicine.
And the number of GP trainees has continued to rise, the GMC said with 8% more GP trainees in 2020 than there were in 2019.
But the GMC report highlighted that doctors from a Black or minority ethnic background were consistently less likely to have experienced a positive impact than their white colleagues in their day to day work during the pandemic whether in teamwork, sharing of knowledge or speed of implementation of change.
GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: ‘GPs are at the frontline of healthcare and the public rely on the services they provide.
‘Despite their best efforts many felt unable to deliver the care that they wanted to for their patients.’
He said it was encouraging to see that remote ways of working are helping GPs to balance workload and fewer doctors are feeling at risk of burnout.
‘We need to retain the excellent clinicians we have and to do that it means supportive, inclusive and fair working environments.
‘It also means working hard to embed the compassionate leadership that doctors need to flourish in our healthcare system.’