The effect of the pandemic on GP consultations

17 Nov 2021 | Elline Demetriou
clipboard

Remote appointments have been one of the measures adopted by GP Practices in the UK throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  It has recently been reported in the press that on average, face-to-face GP appointments remain similar to lockdown levels, as most consultations are taking place remotely. In addition, there have been some reports that patients have been facing difficulties securing a consultation with their GP, be it remote or face-to-face.

It has been quoted that only 54% of patients were seen by their GP face to face in January and a slight increase of 58% in August 2021. Before the pandemic, over 80% of patients were seen by their GP at a face to face appointment.

Can I request a face to face consultation?

Not all GP appointments require a face to face consultation but likewise, not all will be suitable for telephone consultations. As a patient at a GP surgery, you are entitled to request a face to face consultation but it is ultimately for your GP to decide whether they are able to offer this to each individual patient.

Some patients prefer face to face appointments with their GP as it allows them to properly engage and expand on the problem that they are complaining of. It allows the GP to carefully examine his or her patient and crucially, it may allow the GP to spot or notice other health issues that are not mentioned. It is difficult for a patient to show a GP where their pain is over the telephone.

The government has recently requested that GPs offer more in-person appointments.  However, GPs have reported they are under increased pressure to meet the demand for appointments with a diminishing number of GPs across the country. Statistics from NHS England show that the number of permanent GPs in England fell by almost 7% from March 2016 to March 2021.

A fine balance

The healthcare sector has been under immense pressure throughout the pandemic and healthcare providers are working tirelessly to meet patient needs. While telephone consultations may be sufficient and efficient for GPs and many patients, they, unfortunately, pose an inherent risk as GPs do not have the benefit of seeing their patients. Patients may be adversely affected where treatment opportunities have been missed or diagnoses have been delayed as a result of not being seen face-to-face.

The inability to see a GP in person can force a patient to rely on other services, such as A & E and emergency services. This places increased pressure on these services who are already under increased stress. This extra pressure causes a deterioration in the standard of care these tertiary services provide.

Remote appointments do have their place for many patients, especially those who are working and can take the call at work, or while working at home. However, it is reported that the more vulnerable patients such as the elderly, those with disabilities or on low incomes do not cope as well with remote GP appointments. Every patient must be assessed individually by the GP and many factors need to be taken into account to determine if a remote appointment is suitable for the said patient.

If you would like to speak with a clinical negligence solicitor please call Elline Demetriou, or complete an online enquiry form.

Share this article

Contact

Contact Elline today

For a free initial conversation call 0207 485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you






    • Stephanie has developed a particularly strong reputation for her handling of birth injury claims, as well as cases concerning surgical negligence and delays in surgery.

      Chambers UK

    • "An excellent firm which achieves fantastic outcomes for clients."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Stephanie Prior takes on complex cases and gets excellent results. She has a background in medicine which serves her clients well and is a realistic but tough litigator."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Stephanie Prior is hugely dedicated, adored by her clients, tenacious, efficient and extremely knowledgeable."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Stephanie Prior is very good with troubled clients and is easily able to make them feel at ease."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Stephanie shows sensitivity and deals with things in an understanding way."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • Osbornes provides a very intimate and personal client service which is increasingly rare in this sector.

      Legal 500 2020 - Clinical Negligence

    • The lawyers in the team are highly experienced and will drive cases very hard on behalf of their clients.

      Legal 500 2020 - Clinical Negligence

    • "Stephanie Prior has a realistic attitude to the complexities of the cases. She wins the trust of her clients and goes the extra mile to ensure they get the best outcomes."

      Legal 500 2020 - Stephanie Prior

    • "Stephanie Prior... manages a varied caseload, including obstetric claims, child and adult brain injury cases and fatal and non-fatal spinal cord injury cases."

      Chambers UK

    • "Stephanie is experienced, knowledgeable of all aspects of clinical negligence work, and strategic in running cases."

      Chambers UK

    • "The team were extremely professional in putting my needs first. There was a joined-up approach to catering for the client, and all lawyers involved were briefed and constructive."

      Chambers UK

    • Stephanie Prior is always very professional and kind. Highly recommended.

      Medical Negligence Client

    • Quite simply excellent, with a highly competent and well-rounded team. They understand complex medical litigation and have been our lifesavers, and we will always owe them our immense gratitude.

      Medical Negligence Client

    Clinical Negligence InsightsVIEW ALL

    1. 5.6.2023

      Are pharmacy closures putting patients at risk?

      It has been reported in the press that chemist closures will have an impact on patients living in deprived or...

      Read more
    2. pregnant lady
      23.3.2023

      Private Pregnancy Scans and Substandard Care

      In the news, it has been reported that private clinics that offer pregnancy scans to women are not meeting the...

      Read more
    3. water
      9.2.2023

      Perineal Tear case settles for 6-figure sum

      Stephanie Prior recently settled a birth injury claim relating to a woman who delivered her baby after a traumatic labour....

      Read more
    4. hands of surgeon
      14.12.2022

      Successful settlement for negligent care during kidney transplant...

      Claimant v Royal Free London NHS Trust Osbornes have reached a settlement agreement on behalf of a Claimant who brought...

      Read more
    5. Hospital sign MATERNITY
      21.9.2022

      Are maternity services safe? – Part 2

      In April last year I wrote a piece about government setting up a taskforce to look into why there are...

      Read more
    6. asian old man devastated by bad news
      9.8.2022

      New interactive rating tool reveals NHS wait times...

      Amidst record-breaking heatwaves and a lengthy patient waiting list due to COVID backlogs, it is not surprising that this summer...

      Read more
    7. Medical doctor in empty hospital corridor
      1.8.2022

      Successful settlement for birth injury that led to...

      Stephanie Prior’s case relating to the death of Gabriela Pintilie has settled and has been approved by the High...

      Read more
    8. doctor women at office
      29.6.2022

      Nottingham Maternity: Donna Ockenden to Chair Independent Inquiry

      An interim report on the state of maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has just been released. However,...

      Read more
    9. 28.4.2022

      Calls for Public Inquiry into Vaginal Mesh Surgery

      A leading professor from the University of Oxford has called for a public inquiry into the use of vaginal mesh...

      Read more
    10. Hospital sign for Maternity
      6.4.2022

      Stephanie Prior Comments on the Ockenden ‘Maternity Scandal’...

      Following the publication of the Ockenden Report, an independent review of maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust,...

      Read more
    11. Explaining NHS Never Events
      5.4.2022

      NHS Gynaecology waiting lists rise due to coronavirus

      It has been reported today in the press that as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, gynaecology waiting lists in...

      Read more
    12. Anatomy of Shoulder
      23.3.2022

      Nerve injury following bowel surgery

      Stephanie Prior was instructed in a claim against Luton & Dunstable University Hospital where our client sustained an injury to...

      Read more
    13. Cancer treatment in a modern medical private clinic
      23.2.2022

      Record high waiting lists put cancer patient lives...

      In early January 2022 there were nearly six million people in England waiting for routine operations and treatment: a record high....

      Read more
    14. Neglijenta medicala spital din UK
      23.2.2022

      Women from ethnic minorities experience worse maternity care

      It has been reported today that the government has set up a new task force to look into why there...

      Read more
    15. Pregnant Woman and Gynecologist Doctor at Hospit
      14.2.2022

      Recent birth injury cases

      Osbornes Law specialises in helping families who have suffered a birth injury. We have represented families who have suffered the...

      Read more
    16. Female surgeon with medical reports running
      31.1.2022

      Recent fatal medical negligence cases

      Osbornes Law specialises in helping families who have suffered a fatality due to inadequate medical care. Our specialist team is...

      Read more
    17. Hospital sign NEUROLOGY
      31.1.2022

      Recent Brain Injury Client Stories

      Osbornes Law specialises in helping families who have suffered a brain injury as a result of medical negligence. Our specialist...

      Read more
    18. heart monitor
      4.1.2022

      Five-figure Compensation for Cardiac Negligence

      In this cardiac negligence claim, we were instructed by a 42-year-old Polish man who had attended the Accident and Emergency...

      Read more
    19. negotiation
      4.1.2022

      6 Figure Settlement For Heart Attack Claim

      In this cardiac claim, we were instructed by the widow of a 55-year-old man, who had complained of chest pain...

      Read more
    20. white rose
      1.12.2021

      Maternity claim for fatality following caesarean section

      Stephanie Prior is acting for a gentleman whose wife died after she had a caesarean section. The claim is on...

      Read more
    21. 23.11.2021

      Longer wait for ambulances endangering lives

      According to recent NHS figures, in October this year patients in England who were presenting with potential heart attacks or...

      Read more
    22. 18.11.2021

      How do I obtain my GP medical records...

      If you want to obtain copies of your medical records from your GP or the hospital where you have been...

      Read more
    23. 17.11.2021

      NICE revises guidelines on Induced labour

      Most babies are born naturally at around 40 weeks gestation. However, some pregnancies continue for longer. According to data from the...

      Read more
    24. Ambulance vehicles at the Royal London Hospital
      28.9.2021

      Ambulance Delays Affecting Rapid Patient Treatment

      In 2017, the Secretary of State for Health accepted the new ambulance performance standards recommended by NHS England, meaning that the 11...

      Read more

    VIEW ALL