Balancing act over GP appointments after patient told they had 12 months to live ‘over the phone’ – The Yorkshire Post says

THE Covid pandemic continues to change the NHS in so many ways and the advent of telephone consultations by Zoom, or other means, is certainly a more efficient use of time by GPs, and also those patients with more routine ailments and health queries.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has promised action over face-to-face GP appointments.

Doctors say that they’re able, on top of their many demands, to deal with far more patients this way – especially when the continuing prevalence of Covid puts the onus on them to de-sanistise their consultation rooms after each appointment.

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However a balance needs to be struck. It has become increasingly clear from letters to The Yorkshire Post that there are people whose illness demands a personal appointment because of its seriousness or to ease anxiety – in short the type of compassion for which the NHS is globally renowned.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has promised action over face-to-face GP appointments.

And while many GP surgeries have accepted this, and started to put appropriate arrangements in place, there are others that are still unable – or reluctant – to do so.

This is illustrated by the distressing case in Wakefield where an elected councillor has told health chiefs that a constituent was told tactlessly – by telephone – that they only had 12 months left to live.

Such insensitivity is unacceptable, hence why Health Secretary Sajid Javid assured MPs, as he responded to questions about the Covid winter plan, said that GP surgeries need to return to normal, as society opens up, and that he intends “to do a lot more about it”. Yet, while many will welcome Mr Javid’s tone, the great imponderable is whether there are sufficient doctors to meet his expectations and the health needs of 
patients.

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid has promised action over face-to-face GP appointments.