Sir Simon Stevens
15th September 2020
Chief Executive NHS England
Re: Letter to all GPs about Face to Face consultations
You clearly directed GPs in April to provide online, telephone and video consultations and avoid face-to-face appointments unless absolutely necessary and the Secretary of State’s supported you in his pronouncement on the July of 30th, that GP appointments should be remote by default.
GPs like hospital doctors have worked flat out providing millions of appointments, including face-to-face, throughout the pandemic. They’ve responsibly followed instructions to prevent the spread of a deadly virus by limiting unnecessary contact between vulnerable patients and those who may be infectious mixing in the confined space of a waiting room. There has been virtually no spread of COVID in primary care settings as a result.
As a result of your letter, GPs are all reporting patients putting pressure on primary care for face to face consultation when not clinically needed and this at a time when COVID spread is accelerating and we are facing the looming pressures of winter and flu.
Let us make it clear that we would never accept anyone in the NHS not fulfilling their duties but to single out primary care with this sort of message has been undermining of all the amazing hard work of NHS staff under your leadership, at a time of rising incidence of Covid and the need to ask our overstretched workforce for yet more.
Sam and Jackie
Sir Sam Everington, Barrister, MBBS, MRCGP, OBE
Chair Tower Hamlets CCG
Dr Jackie Applebee MBBS, FRCGP, BSC
Chair of Tower Hamlets LMC