In-person GP appointments at the highest level since BEFORE Covid nationwide

Face-to-face GP appointments at the highest level since BEFORE Covid nationwide…but only 12 PERCENT of consultations are in person for the worst-performing surgeries, official data shows as the Government begins to ‘name and shame’

  • NHS data shows seven in 10 GP appointments in England were in person last month, the highest since before Covid
  • The rate fell as low as four in 10 during the early days of the pandemic as Britons were told to stay at home.
  • Despite 80% of patients being seen in person before COVID-19, doctors have suggested that number may never recover

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The proportion of patients seen in person in general practice has soared to its highest level since Covid first arrived on British shores.

Data from NHS Digital shows that seven in 10 inquiries in England were face-to-face in October, the highest level since March 2020, when the UK went into its first national lockdown.

The rate fell as low as four in 10 during the early days of the pandemic as Britons were told to stay at home to limit the spread of the virus.

Despite 80 per cent of patients being seen in person before Covid, top doctors have suggested the number may never recover to this level.

The jump comes as the health service today released figures for every GP practice in England: naming and embarrassing surgeries that are still making the most appointments by phone or video call.

The data reveals that only 12 percent of appointments are face-to-face in the worst performing trusts.

NHS Digital data for England in October shows that more patients were seen face to face since Covid first arrived in the UK (71.3 per cent).  Officials have told doctors to see more patients in person due to concerns about missed diagnoses.

NHS Digital data for England in October shows that more patients were seen face to face since Covid first arrived in the UK (71.3 per cent). Officials have told doctors to see more patients in person due to concerns about missed diagnoses.

However, data from NHS Digital also reveals that just 44 per cent of appointments in October were with a GP, the lowest ratio since the pandemic began.  Most appointments were with other practice staff, such as a nurse, health visitor or physiotherapist.

However, data from NHS Digital also reveals that just 44 per cent of appointments in October were with a GP, the lowest ratio since the pandemic began.  Most appointments were with other practice staff, such as a nurse, health visitor or physiotherapist.

However, data from NHS Digital also reveals that just 44 per cent of appointments in October were with a GP, the lowest ratio since the pandemic began. Most appointments were with other practice staff, such as a nurse, health visitor or physiotherapist.

NHS Digital published the data, showing how many appointments each practice delivers and how long patients are forced to wait for an appointment.

The government said the practice-by-practice figure increases transparency and helps patients make an informed decision about which one to register with.

Across England, there were 31.9 million general practice appointments in October, up 13 per cent from last month.

But just 44 per cent of appointments were with a GP, the lowest proportion since records began in 2018. Most appointments were with other practice staff, such as a nurse, health visitor or a physical therapist.

And ill Britons faced the longest waits for appointments in at least two-and-a-half years, with just four in 10 (38.9 per cent) seen on the same day they called their local practice. One in five (19.6 percent) was forced to wait more than two weeks, another high.

However, more patients were seen face to face since Covid first hit the UK (71.3 per cent). Officials have told doctors to see more patients in person out of concern over missed diagnoses.

The data also shows that 1.8 million citations (5.6%) were lost last month, the highest rate ever.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘We promised to prioritize patients and improve access and that is exactly what we have done, and this is just the beginning.

“I am determined to make it easier for people to get an appointment with their GP when they need one and this will allow patients to make a more informed decision about the care they receive.”

Minister of State for Health Neil O’Brien said: ‘This is about making sure patients can make genuine decisions about where to access their care.

‘Over 90% of a patient’s direct experience with the NHS is through their primary care and GP practices, so it is vital that appointments are available when required.

“This government reiterated its commitment to the NHS during the Autumn Statement and improving access to data is just the start.”

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