Daily Mail

Javid: Doctors MUST start seeing patients

- By Daniel Martin Policy Editor

MORE must be done to ensure family doctors see their patients face to face, Sajid Javid insisted last night.

Upping the pressure on doctors to limit the use of phone appointmen­ts, the Health Secretary told MPs that GP s should start reopening their doors now we are ‘way past’ the height of the pandemic.

However, Mr Javid did not spell out any details on how surgeries would be encouraged to comply.

It comes days after a coroner warned that remote GP appointmen­ts might have contribute­d to the deaths of five people who did not see their doctor in person. And figures from the Commons Library have shown that fewer than half of patients are able to see their GP face-toface in some parts of the country. Before the pandemic, 80 per cent of appointmen­ts across England were in person.

In the Commons yesterday, Tory Dean Russell said some GP surgeries in his Watford constituen­cy were ‘still not opening their doors’ to patients. Mr Javid replied: ‘I think everyone can understand why, during the height of the pandemic, GPs couldn’t provide access in the normal way.

‘But we’re way past that now. Life is starting to return almost back to completely normal. As that is happening, it should be happening in our GP surgeries too.’

EVEN with lockdown over, half of family doctors will no longer routinely see patients face to face. Yet GPs can miss lifethreat­ening symptoms via phone and video calls – with tragic consequenc­es.

Just read Jessica Brady’s harrowing story on Page 7. Despite suffering pain, she was refused an appointmen­t 20 times. Finally going private, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer – dying four weeks later.

Sajid Javid is right to urge GPs to open their doors. Until they do, more lives will be needlessly lost.

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