The Royal College of GPs said it does not want to see general practice become “totally, or even mostly” remote after the pandemic, but warned it is still necessary to stop the spread of Covid-19 as the country prepares for a predicted second wave.
NHS Digital data shows patients booked 178,788 appointments with practices in the NHS North Yorkshire CCG area in August – 59% of which involved a face-to-face meeting.
This was up slightly from 58% in July, but still well below 82% in the same month last year.
It was a similar picture across England as a whole.
NHS Digital has urged caution that changes in how practices operate during the pandemic may have affected the figures.
Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said GPs “have done everything they’ve needed to do” to curb the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of patients and staff.
He added: “We understand that some patients prefer the face-to-face personalised service that they are used to – and that many GPs also prefer this way of consulting.
“However, the challenge of infection control isn’t going away and there has been a rapid rise in the number of people testing positive for Covid.
“When remote consultations have been unsuitable - such as for vaccinations or when a physical examination is required - face to face consultations have been arranged, and will continue to be.”