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How might COVID-19 affect the number of GPs available to see patients in England?

Fisher, Rebecca and Asaria, Miqdad ORCID: 0000-0002-3538-4417 (2020) How might COVID-19 affect the number of GPs available to see patients in England? Long read. The Health Foundation, London, UK.

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NHS England has suggested that NHS staff at potentially higher risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) are risk assessed and have their activities adjusted accordingly, including ceasing face-to-face patient contact. In England, many GP practices have shifted to a ‘telephone first’ approach to providing patient care. But some people need face-to-face consultations for specific health problems, and all patients should have access to face-to-face consultations if clinically necessary to provide good care. We apply risk scoring to calculate the number of GPs practising in England who are likely to be at high or very high risk of death from COVID-19. We estimate that of the 45,858 GPs in our sample, 7.9% are at high or very high risk. This is likely to be a conservative estimate. GPs at very high risk of death from COVID-19 are more likely to be working in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation. Almost one in ten GP practices (9.4% or 639 out of 6,771) are run by a single GP. These practices serve 2,497,159 patients and are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 related disruption should the single-handed GP fall ill or die of COVID-19. Almost one in three of these single-handed GP practices (32.7%, or 209 out of 639) are run by a GP we estimate to be at high or very high risk from COVID-19. If these GPs were to not see patients face-to-face, 710,043 patients would be left without face-to-face GP appointments. Single-handed GP practices in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation are more likely to be run by a GP at higher risk of COVID-19. There is a timely opportunity to provide additional support to keep GPs and patients safe. CCGs must ensure that they are aware of gaps in face-to-face provision of core general practice services, and must work with practices and primary care networks to find solutions. This may require additional funding to ‘buy in’ locum support, or to compensate GPs for providing additional cover.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Health Foundation
Divisions: LSE Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2020 11:18
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 22:32

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