Stand up for general practice
I am sure it hasn't escaped your attention that the media onslaught on general practice has continued this month, with stories deploring the apparent lack of face-to-face appointments and campaigns started to increase the numbers of appointments offered. We all know that practice nurses have been doing many face-to-face appointments throughout the pandemic and this never stopped – after all you cannot give a vaccination or change a dressing over the phone – so what are the real figures for general practice overall? The NHS Digital (2021) statistics for July 2021 do show a reduction in the number of face-to-face appointments that took place compared to July 2019 (the fairest comparison, as July 2020 was in the middle of the pandemic), but that was made up by an increase in the number of telephone appointments.
The time between booking an appointment and the appointment taking place – something that is very important to patients – actually reduced, with over 45% of appointments happening on the same day in July 2021, compared with 42% in July 2019. So general practice is providing faster access to healthcare compared to pre-pandemic services.
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