The question is obviously important, and my hon. Friend is right to raise it. General practice is open and has been throughout the pandemic, and people should be able to receive services in the way that is most suitable for them. The way in which people can get general practice services during covid-19 has changed; practices are offering more triage and remote consultations —video and online—to see as many patients as possible, while protecting staff and patients from the avoidable risk of infection. NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued guidance on the importance of continuing to offer face-to-face appointments, utilising remote triage and making use of online and telephone consultations where suitable.
General practice appointment levels are, I am glad to say, now close to pre-pandemic numbers. In February 2021, an estimated 23.5 million appointments—an average of 1.19 million per working day—were booked in general practice in England, of which 13 million were face-to-face, which is 55.3%. People who need face-to-face appointments ought to be able to get them.