General practice has a vital role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering high quality care for both COVID-19 patients and for individuals requiring urgent care or essential routine care for pre-existing conditions that are non COVID-19. The way in which people can access general practice services during the COVID-19 emergency response has changed. Practices are now offering more telephone appointments and video consultations. This is to see as many patients as possible while protecting staff and patients from avoidable risk of infection. Where a face to face appointment or a home visit is clinically necessary the practices will take all necessary steps to reduce the risk of infection, including using personal protective equipment.
Qualified general practitioners (GPs) who have temporarily, or permanently left the National Health Service have also been asked to return to support the COVID-19 response as part of a “call to arms” for healthcare professionals across the NHS. These GPs are being deployed where they are needed the most, including in practices and COVID-19 clinical assessment services in NHS 111.