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Why are GP Practices currently working differently?

Thursday 21st October 2021

Our Deputy Medical Director and GP, Liam Taylor talks about why GP Practices are currently working differently and the significant demands we are facing in general practice since the Covid pandemic.

"All 72 GP practices across Aneurin Bevan University Health Board have remained open throughout the pandemic and continue to provide care in accordance with national guidance.

With the emphasis on telephone first to reduce the risk of COVID transmission, this has undoubtedly placed added pressure on their telephone systems.  To support this, our local practices have introduced other ways for patients to contact their GP Practice to facilitate and support access to advice, including Attend Anywhere, AccuRX and E-consult. Practices have adopted a blended approach, offering remote and face to face consultations where safe to do so which gives patients a choice of how they contact their GP Practice. In addition, the My Health On Line (MHOL) platform offers online booking of appointments and ordering of repeat prescriptions and is widely promoted and utilised across practices.

General Practice is reporting significant demand, as are other parts of the healthcare system:

  • There has been an 8% increase in contacts for GPs and GP Practices compared to this time last year – the 72 GP Practices in our area are undertaking around 73,277 patient contacts a week
  • The 73,277 contacts are delivered by primary care teams including GPs, nurses and healthcare assistants  53% consultations were remote, 46% were face-to-face and 1% were in patient’s own homes
  • We are experiencing staff shortages of approximately 8% each day across our health board due to sickness and self-isolation

We do understand the frustrations and concerns of our patients, however we can assure you that our practice teams are committed to the delivery of care to all patients, whilst adopting new ways of working in line with national policy and social restrictions. Everyone is working hard to provide the best possible care, ensuring those at greatest need are prioritised.

In addition to their usual practice workload, GP Practices have directly contributed to the success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, delivering approximately 225,650 vaccinations across our Health Board area over the last few months."