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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Royal College of GP’s ‘sets the record straight’ on remote doctor consultations

A phone first system adopted by most GP surgeries at the start of the pandemic is "here to stay", the Royal College of GPs (RCGPs) in Northern Ireland has said.

The RCGP’s position was made clear to the BBC’s reporter Marie Louise Connolly on Radio Ulster on Wednesday morning (13 April).

The Royal College of General Practitioners in Northern Ireland has issued the following statement, following the reports about GP consultation methods post-pandemic.

A spokesperson for RCGP said: “General practice did not enter the Covid-19 pandemic in a good place, following decades of underinvestment in our services and poor workforce planning.

“This, coupled with rising demand, left GP services in a challenging place. GPs quickly adapted to new ways of working, virtually overnight, at the start of the pandemic, adhering to Government mandated infection control guidance. This meant patients were able to access healthcare safely throughout the worst of Covid-19.

“We have always been very clear that post-pandemic, patients should be able to access GP care and services in a variety of ways, based on their health needs and preferences – and current data shows this is happening.

“Many patients prefer to see their GP in person, but good, safe, and appropriate clinical care is being delivered remotely.

“There are also many patients who find this way of accessing care convenient, including those with work or caring responsibilities.

“We also acknowledge that many patients are having difficulties getting through and it is vital that that there is significant investment in our telephony systems, to allow surgeries to manage the huge volume of calls.

“We are clear that the method of consultation should be a shared decision between patient and GP.

“The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients.”


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