Remote appointments are here to stay: Leading GP says rate of in-person consultations is ‘about right’ and doctors don’t need to offer much more
- Most, 80%, of GP appointments were in person before Covid and 47% in 2020
- In May it was 65% which chair of the Royal College of GPs is bad for the elderly
- He also spoke of the trend towards “mega-operations”, in which general practitioners are grouped together
Britain’s top GP claims there is no need to offer many more in-person appointments as the current rate is “about right”.
Around 80 percent of GP appointments before the pandemic were in-person, but after the outbreak of Covid, that figure was down to 47 percent in April 2020.
And the latest figures show that at the end of May this year, almost 65 percent were face-to-face.
However, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, admitted that remote consultations are not as suitable for the elderly.
Britain’s top GP claims there is no need to offer many more face-to-face appointments as the current rate is ‘about right’ (stock image)
Around 80 percent of GP appointments were in-person before the pandemic, but in April 2020 it was down to 47 percent after Covid struck (stock image)
Advisory positions not filled
A record number of independent physician positions remained unfilled last year, the highest rate since records began in 2008.
Over half – 52 percent – of vacancies did not find a suitable job, up from 48 percent in 2020.
There were no applications for almost three quarters of the available positions. The figures are based on a census of 4,200 doctors from the Royal College of Physicians.
The British Medical Association said young doctors are leaving the profession, causing a wave of early retirement
He also spoke about the trend towards “mega-surgery” and told the Sunday Telegraph that the days of a GP serving a community for decades are “long dead”.
The Daily Mail is campaigning for more patients to be seen in person. Commenting on the increase in remote appointments, Professor Marshall said: ‘We will end up with a service that is certainly more convenient when done remotely, but not necessarily more productive.’
NHS England issued a policy earlier this year that in-person appointments must be offered unless there is good clinical reason not to do so.
However, the latest statistics show that almost a third of appointments are made over the phone or via online consultations.
Professor Marshall said patients at his east London practice were generally young and good with technology, but acknowledged that this was not the case with “older, more traditional communities”. With half of England’s small practices closing in less than a decade, he said: “The days of Dr. Finlay, where you had a family doctor in a stable community for 40 years, is long gone.”
He added last night: “It’s likely that there will be a shift towards more remote care…would have happened anyway, but the pandemic has accelerated that.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said patients should be able to see their GP “any way”.