Demand at North Yorkshire GPs returning to pre-pandemic levels
Demand at GP surgeries in North Yorkshire jumped in June with activity returning to pre-coronavirus levels.
The Patients Association welcomed the rising numbers of people accessing their local doctor but warned continuing use of remote sessions must not become “the new normal”.
NHS Digital data shows patients booked 188,387 appointments with practices in the NHS North Yorkshire CCG area in June – 27% more than in May.
While this was still 2% fewer than during the previous June, demand in May was down by 27% year-on-year.
It means appointments in June were 11% lower compared to a year ago, while in May they had been down by 33%.
The NHS cautions that changes in how practices operate during the pandemic may have affected the figures, with remote consultations underreported.
The Royal College of GPs says demand at surgeries could soon surpass pre-crisis levels as people feel more confident accessing services.
Chairman Professor Martin Marshall said: “As normal services begin to resume, general practice will be at the forefront of dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, as well as continuing to deliver routine GP services and an expanded flu vaccination programme.
“It is essential that GPs and their teams have the necessary guidance, resources, and workforce capacity to manage these new challenges and continue to deliver good-quality care to patients.”
In North Yorkshire, 38% of sessions were completed over the phone in June, up from just 11% a year ago.
In a recent speech to the Royal College of Physicians, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the switch to more remote consultations had been “hugely positive”. He called for all sessions to be done remotely unless there is a “compelling clinical reason not to”.
An NHS spokesman said: “GPs have had to adjust the way they work to protect people from the risk of the virus – remote consultations offer a convenient, safe option for patients to access care in addition to face-to-face appointments.”
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