GPs told to switch to digital consultations to combat Covid-19

Millions of patients will have face-to-face appointments with their GP replaced by telephone or video consultations under NHS plans to respond to the threat posed by the coronavirus.

In a significant policy change, NHS bosses want England’s 7,000 GP surgeries to start conducting as many remote consultations as soon as possible, replacing patient visits with phone, video, online or text contact.

They want to reduce the risk of someone infected with Covid-19 turning up at a surgery and free GPs to deal with the extra workload created by the virus.

In a pre-emptive move some surgeries, especially in London, have already begun texting patients to tell them not to come in for pre-booked appointments from Monday and that appointments will be conducted by phone instead.

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