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An open goal


GP practices open


Amid the pressures of the vaccine programme, and all the back and forth around the AZ vaccine and headaches (and, if you are inclined, the horrible attempted land grab in the football), you might have missed the latest Daily Mail special on GPs being closed (and no, I won’t link to it).

This might not be a surprise to many GPs, who are used to these kinds of attacks – and our cover feature from February shows that this is not just their paranoia. It is of course more galling as GPs know that, in fact, demand is growing to pre-pandemic levels, if it is not already there.

Seeing this, two things came to mind: first, what happened to NHS England’s pledge that it ‘can and will do more’ to explain GP practices are open to public? When we asked the press office about this, it simply pointed to its statement in the article that GPs are continuing to see patients face to face.

But the second thing that came to mind was when NHS England said it was constantly reviewing its guidance to GPs around when they should fully open their doors (ie, to patients walking in off the street) again. Because I think that this should become a priority.

It is likely that this guidance will remain the same. But GPs would benefit heavily from a restatement of this guidance.  GPs are being bashed in the media, and worse by patients, for ‘not opening’ while everything around them begins to open up. Supporting GPs would be an easy way for NHS England to create a bit of goodwill.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at editor@pulsetoday.co.uk.

READERS' COMMENTS [5]

John Graham Munro 21 April, 2021 6:53 pm

IN THE MIDST OF THE PANDEMIIC MY SURGERY WAS CLOSED AGAIN YESTERDAY FOR A HALF DAY TRAINING WHILST THE PRACTCE MANAGER FOUND TIME TO WRITE IN THE LOCAL RAG OF THE HUGE THE PRESSURE THEY WERE UNDER

Nicholas Grundy 21 April, 2021 9:14 pm

There is a delicious irony in your criticising a practice for being closed when the practice manager had written something for the local paper…when you’re doing so yourself in a media outlet. I imagine your medical condition was super-urgent.

John Graham Munro 21 April, 2021 9:44 pm

NICHOLAS GRUNDY
I HAD NO CONDITION AT ALL THIS WAS MERELY AN OBSERVATION OF MY PRACTICE OVER THE YEARS

Andrew Jackson 22 April, 2021 9:28 am

My feeling is it will need to be GPs who set the agenda around face to face restart as any significant long term virtual consulting is hollowing out appointment capacity due to inevitable double handling of contacts.
It wouldn’t matter if we had excess capacity but we all know that is a long term issue and I think we will have a choice to make between offering efficient but less safe consultations or safer but primary care capacity imploding virtual initial contacts.

Patrufini Duffy 22 April, 2021 8:02 pm

The public, come off the bus via the Tube, few drinks after work, snorted cocaine at their mates last night and visit to A+E for palpitations because they’ve lost their sertraline and their flat mate has covid.
And yes, the public just want to walk into a practice, constipated from theit IBS, mask-less, to sit and read the paper and watch Loose Women on screen, beside the patient with cancer and child with leukaemia. Oh, the days of the GP walk-in centre, and cough on your face.