Health Foundation analysis on GP appointment preferences highlights the importance of patient choice, clinical need and capacity, says BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Last reviewed: 18 March 2022
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Responding to analysis by the Health Foundation and NHSEI1 on patient preferences when accessing GP services, Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, BMA England GP committee executive officer, said:

“Hard-working GPs and practice staff have continued to provide high quality care throughout the pandemic and in line with national guidance in place to keep patients and staff safe; this led to a necessary fall in face-to-face appointments, and a rise in remote consultations. Despite these changes and challenges, practices have delivered record levels of appointments, with the majority offered in person.

“This evolution in how we provide care for our patients has attracted significant criticism and, in some instances, abuse, which is deeply unfair, and has had a profound effect on many GPs and colleagues. Despite this, this latest analysis suggests that while not suitable for everyone or all conditions, in many cases patients themselves will often prefer and indeed request a remote consultation.

“We are committed to caring for our patients and our communities, using the most appropriate technology and method of consultation to do so. Face-to-face continuity of care will always be a crucial part of what makes general practice so valuable, but with a shrinking workforce, we must embrace different ways of working to maintain the highest quality of care.

“Going forward it’s crucial that patient choice, clinical need, and staff and practice capacity are at the centre of decisions around how people can interact with their surgery, rather than pressure from politicians or the press. Practices are embedded within their communities and want to work with their local patients to provide a service that meets their unique needs in the best way possible.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. Contact the Health Foundation for further details.