Since the coronavirus pandemic began general practitioners have been treating patients through phones or video calls during the months of March and July. This included as many as 102 million appointments, according to the NHS. According to the latest instructions, now general practitioners must meet their patients for in-person appointments if the need arises.
NHS in the UK is now letting practitioners know nationwide that in-person practice is now available besides virtual treatment that was already being carried out.
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The Royal College of GPs has also said they would consider it an insult if there was any hint or rumor about the GPs not carrying out their responsibilities as they are required to.
Research from the NHS suggests that about 2 thirds of the population were glad that they could video or phone call their GP’s but even then they wanted to ensure the people of the UK knew they had the option to have in-person appointments if the need arises.
Nikki Kanani is a medical director for primary care at NHS England. She says Gps have adapted effectively to what is required of them during in-person treatments and that they will be able to offer safe person to person care when a patient requires it.
She acknowledges that while there are people who enjoy the benefits of over the phone consultation as they are susceptible to the coronavirus, the NHS will continue to however also provide in-person consultations for the masses if that is what they think they need to receive treatment.
NHS England also warns GPs that if they refuse to offer in-person consultations when it is required they will not hesitate to deploy an action to enforce the rule is carried out. If they fail to comply, they will lose their contract with the NHS.
Prof Martin Marshall is the chair of the Royal College of GPs. He believes the practice of GPs has been always available during the coronavirus pandemic, remote service was even an option to stop the transmission of the virus. He acknowledged however that the college does not wish to turn general practice into an only remote service after the pandemic is over.
He noted that usually, patients understand the differences in the way health care will operate during the pandemic and that in-person appointments often do put GPs at greater risk from the novel virus.
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For this time of the year appointments made with general practitioners will resume almost normal levels, after declining during the highest magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of health practitioners however believe a 2nd wave is due this winter. According to a survey by The British Medical Association above eight thousand medical students and doctors fear a second wave is likely or highly likely in the coming 6 months.
Dr. Chaand Nagpaul is the BMA chair on the council. He acknowledges that the survey may not seem very hopeful but the worst may not be yet to come of the government can take effective and strong action to limit the spread and eventually stop it.