NHS England’s primary care director has acknowledged the workload pressure GPs are facing at the current time.
Speaking in an NHS England GP webinar on Thursday evening, Dr Nikki Kanani said she knows that ‘it’s feeling really difficult at the moment’, as demand on practices continues.
She also praised GPs for their role in reaching the milestone of 10 million UK patients now having had their second Covid vaccine dose.
She told the webinar: ‘I know that it’s feeling really difficult at the moment, obviously demand continues… and we’ve got a lot of things to do, whether it is Covid or non Covid-related.’
She added that what NHS England is trying to, via bulletins and webinars, to ‘guide how we kind of focus our activity over the coming weeks and months, recognising that there are a lot of pressures on us in general practice at the moment.’
She added: ‘Thank you for everything you’re doing.’
Her comments come as Pulse’s recent workload survey revealed that GPs are working 11-hour days and dealing with an average of 37 patients in that time – far more than the 28 patients they believe is the safe daily limit in the pandemic.
The Covid-19 outbreak forced GPs to change the way they work, by providing far more remote consultations – often taking more time. They also have to put on and take off PPE and clean rooms in between face-to-face consults.
Overall, around half of GPs said their level of work was unsafe on the day of Pulse’s survey – and 70% said in general daily workload now was ‘significantly’ (35%) or ‘slightly’ (35%) higher than on a typical day before the pandemic.
GPs have also recently taken to Twitter to discuss their workload, including some GPs claiming they were the busiest they ever have been, amid returned demand from patients amid the lockdown easing.