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One million more GP appointments taking place per week than before pandemic

pre-pandemic appointments

Practices delivered one million more GP appointments per week in January than before the pandemic, NHS England has revealed.

The latest NHS England board papers showed a year-on-year increase in demand of 15% by late January when Covid vaccinations are included in calculations.

It comes as Healthwatch England has called for a formal review into GP access, which it said has been worsened by the pandemic.

But GPs across the country told Pulse earlier this month that their workload feels ‘unmanageable’.

The board papers, published today, said practices have reached a ‘run rate’ of seven million appointments per week.

They said: ‘Overall GP appointments have increased by around 15% by late January 2021 compared to the equivalent week in 2020, once Covid vaccinations are included, bringing general practice up to a 7m per week run rate, which is 1m per week above pre-pandemic levels.’

Another board paper added that online consultation requests ‘more than doubled’ from around 250,000 per week to over 550,000 per week between March 2020 and January 2021.

GP access caused controversy in the autumn amid suggestions that practices were not ‘open’ and ‘GP-bashing’ in the media.

Meanwhile, an NHS England update on Covid vaccine deployment reiterated that it is planning for a revaccination campaign that is ‘likely’ to run ‘in the autumn and winter’.

‘We are planning on the basis that we will need to run Covid-19 and seasonal flu vaccination campaigns in parallel’, it added.

And NHS England is still ‘exploring possibilities’ for the flu and Covid vaccines to be co-administered, it said.

It remains unclear whether the whole population will need to be revaccinated, or whether only the most vulnerable will receive booster shots.

Meanwhile, reports have suggested that children could be vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as August.


john mackay 25 March, 2021 5:37 pm

More work, less pay, there’s a surprise

john mackay 25 March, 2021 5:38 pm

More work, less pay. There’s a surprise

Douglas Callow 25 March, 2021 9:41 pm

More demanding patients
An increase in ‘do what I want or I will formally complain’ Tsunami of dumping from 2′ care and fallout from longer waits
Less pay

Patrufini Duffy 25 March, 2021 11:42 pm

A GP bashing in Britain, is so wonderfully traditional, like pie and mash, a pint of Fosters, sertraline-coated Quavers, line of crack in the city and back handed covert elitism and buggery of public facing front-line services. 80% of GP consultations are not consultations, they’re chats in how to make up an explanation of the trivial, nanny the wooliness, impart ways to regain common sense in a so called “smart” world and a dry excercise in documenting repeated non existant red flag to appease the GMC. You feel the profession could help so many others, globally with their expertise.

Dave Haddock 26 March, 2021 8:36 am

My local Practice uses the non-gp telephone fob-ff technique; this repeatedly turns a one consult problem into a two or three consult problem, so increasing rather than decreasing workload, whilst also severely aggravating the patients.

Patrufini Duffy 26 March, 2021 12:07 pm

Dave, I heard you can also engage in this silly medicalised health anxiety game, and severely aggravate the patient, by issuing 3 medications of placebo like drugs which do no harm, but reinforce the West’s demanding drug based medical system, and incur a nauseating £27 at the pharmacy, and hopefully no put an end to this minor ailment drivel.