Responding to today’s appointments in general practice data for September, Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said:
“Today’s figures show that GP practices are very much open for business. Indeed, there were a million more patient appointments in September this year, compared to last.
“Doctors want to do all they can to keep patients, themselves and staff free from infection, but despite this 56 percent of GP appointments were face to face in September. Whilst this is 25 percent less than the same time last year, it is an extraordinary achievement during the pandemic.
“More people were also able to have an ‘on the day’ appointments, with almost two million more same day appointments in September this year compared with August. This represents an increase of 1.5 million more same day appointments taking place this September than in pre-pandemic figures September 2019.
“These figures clearly demonstrate that GPs and their practice teams are continuing to work extremely hard as they do all they can for their patients in these most challenging of times. The continued use of triage arrangements, telephone and digital consultations are essential to keep both patients and staff as safe as possible and avoid the risk from overcrowded waiting rooms.
“These figures show that GPs and their practice teams are absolutely open and doing do all they can for patients in these most challenging of times. The continued use of triage arrangements, telephone and digital consultations are essential to keep both patients and staff as safe as possible and avoid the infection risks from busy, crowded waiting rooms.
“However physical appointments will always be a vital part of general practice and as these results demonstrate practices will see patients when it’s necessary, and we must never lose sight of that. There is now an urgent need for the government to do far more to support practices to enable them to maintain this vital work.”