Over the past few weeks, there has been an outcry via media outlets about the state of the nation: “There is no petrol!”, “There have been no blood bottles for blood tests!” and “GPs are not seeing patients!”
Several articles suggested that GPs refused to see patients who needed to be seen and that GP surgeries had closed their doors. Yet, statistics indicate that over one in two general practice consultations were face-to-face, the others being over the telephone, internet, or delivered via video. The Royal College of General Practitioners released a statement highlighting that this move to digital reviews of patients was a much needed and overdue upgrade to the NHS method of service delivery in the internet age.
The Health Minister recently suggested that remote methods of patient reviews are likely here to stay. Unfortunately, it took a pandemic for the healthcare system to attempt to catch up. Several GP buildings do not have the capacity for social distancing in waiting rooms; these areas were often crowded pre-pandemic, increasing the risk to the elderly and vulnerable.