GPs should see patients again as vaccine rollout begins – The Yorkshire Post says

IT is clear, exactly a week after pensioner Margaret Keenan made history by becoming the first person in the world to receive the Covid vaccine, that GPs are best placed to deliver the mass immunisation programme in communities across Yorkshire and beyond.

Many GPs have switched to telephone consultations since the lockdown.

Not only will this reassure all those people, especially the elderly, who are fearful about having to attend hospitals, even more so during the pandemic, but family doctors should – and that is the key word – know the medical history of their patients best of all.

And while there are GPs who have maintained regular contact with their more vulnerable patients, even consenting to face-to-face appointments, a significant number of people with complex health needs, including cancer, are becoming exasperated by telephone consultations.

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This is leading those concerned to begin to lose confidence in their local doctor, and suffer unnecessary worry as a consequence, just as public recognition, and respect, for the NHS is at unprecedented levels because of how hospital staff – and carers – responded to the Covid crisis.

Should GPs be seeing more patients in person?

Yet, just as hospitals have, in recent times, found a way to treat Covid victims and also patients requiring treatment for serious illnesses, it is clear that many GP surgeries need to find a way to see, as safely as possible, all those people whose ailments demand a more consider diagnosis, and response, than a perfunctory and often unsatisfactory phone call.

As such, the rollout of the Covid vaccine is a timely opportunity for GP services to move a step nearer normality.

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