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GPs told to ‘assess’ treatment ‘delays’ and resume chronic disease care

Practices should assess where urgent and routine treatment has been delayed and ‘focus’ on resuming chronic disease treatment and prevention, NHS England has said.

GPs should also ‘proactively’ address health needs that have ‘gone unmet, increased or developed’ during the coronavirus pandemic such as mental health issues and health inequalities, it added.

The new guidance comes as part of the latest standard operating procedure for general practice that was published on Friday.

The document said: ‘Access to urgent care and routine care in general practice should be maintained for all patients, and practices should assess where care has been delayed over recent weeks and now needs to be restarted.

‘Practices should be focused on the restoration of routine chronic condition management and prevention wherever possible, including vaccination and immunisation, contraception and health checks.’

It added that practice teams should ‘proactively’ address unmet, increasing or developing health needs ‘as capacity allows’, as well as accommodating changes in ‘how patients want to seek healthcare’.

This could include ‘supporting patients with self-care and self-management’, it said.

GPs were advised to resume the delivery of ‘routine and preventative work’ including screening at the end of April, when the Government entered the second phase of its coronavirus response.

Last month, they were told to base decisions on which routine work to resume ‘primarily’ on ‘clinical need’ and capacity – as well as whether it can be done ‘safely’.

Meanwhile, GP access to referrals continues to cause concern, with GP leaders demanding ‘full investigation’ into ‘hundreds’ of radiology referrals that have been returned to GPs across Birmingham.