‘The doctor will see you now’ says Health Secretary Sajid Javid

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Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is set to bring back face-to-face appointments with GPs.

Mr. Javid, is expected to announce a package of measures this week to cut NHS bureaucracy and free up family doctors’ time to carry out face-to-face appointments once again.

It comes after figures suggested that less than 60 per cent of GP consultations are held in person, compared to 80 per cent before the pandemic. However, within the findings, telephone consultations were classed as face to face, so it is suggested the figure is much less.

It is understood Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been ‘piling on pressure for GPs to offer more in-person consultations’ and has urged the Health Secretary to remove the two-metre rule in GP practices and ease up on the time consuming extreme cleaning regimes currently required.

A Downing Street statement said:

‘The public rightly may choose to want to see their GP face to face – and GP practices should be making that facility available to their patients.

‘The NHS has been clear to every GP practice that they must provide face-to-face appointments, and we fully support that.’

‘GPs throughout the pandemic have worked hard to see patients and appointment numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

‘It’s right that the public expect to be able to see their GP in person, if needed.’

Last month hospitals were told they could scrap the two-metre rule in an effort to help the NHS see more patients. The guidance also removed the need for patients to undergo PCR tests and isolation before surgery. It was understood infection control experts would also look at GP surgeries to determine if rules could be relaxed there also.

A Government source said doctors resisting the return to in-person consultations would be “held to account.”

The source said:

“GPs are doing a great job under difficult circumstances – we are full of praise for the vast majority who are doing their best for patients.

“We have been working closely with the NHS on a plan to support GPs and deliver better outcomes for patients. We all want the same outcome and by working together we can achieve it but we will hold the small minority letting the side down to account.”

Click here for update: £250 million investment as ‘patients must be able to see their doctor the way they want’

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