NHS bosses have sent a letter to GPs to remind them to offer face-to-face appointments where necessary, sparking an angry response from professional bodies who say such comments risk insulting hard-working doctors. In March, GPs were urged to move to remote consultations where possible in a bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19. The result was a surge in the number of appointments conducted at a distance: in May alone, 48% of GP appointments were carried out over the phone. Now NHS England has written to GP practices reminding them they must make sure patients are aware face-to-face appointments are available, where clinically appropriate, and warning practices they face investigation by local commissioners if they fail to offer such appointments where needed. “We know that the vast majority of practices have made significant efforts to remain accessible to patients through the pandemic, and to keep staff and patients safe,” the letter states. But, it adds: “It is important that no practice suggests in their communication that the practice is closed or that the practice is not offering the option of face-to-face appointments.” Nikki Kanani, the medical director of primary care for NHS England, said general practice had adapted quickly during… Read full this story
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