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Deprioritising ‘non-essential’ work should have minimal impact on patient care, says RCGP

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams are working incredibly hard delivering the COVID vaccination programme alongside the delivery of the expanded flu vaccine programme and the vital care services that our patients rely on us for.

“However, we’re in a pandemic, working under intense pressures, and tough decisions are being made right across the health service about what services need to be prioritised. It’s important that these decisions have a minimal impact on the care patients receive, which is why our guidance developed with the BMA focusses on deprioritising non-essential work, such as routine health checks and non-patient facing work, for example non-essential paperwork.

“General practice services will continue to be available, as they have throughout the pandemic, so if patients are concerned about their health, or they have signs that could potentially be symptoms of serious illness, such as cancer, they should seek medical attention.

“Any decision to stop some non-essential activities will be not be taken lightly and will be based on guidance, clinical judgement and – importantly – the needs of local populations. 
 
“The latest figures from the College’s Research Surveillance Centre show that in the nine weeks to the end of 2020 general practice delivered approximately 2.5m more appointments than in the same period in 2019 – GPs and our teams continue to remain busy and are providing care for our patients, albeit differently than usual in some cases.”

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