Members of the public have been sharing their support for their GP, detailing the many ways doctors have gone above and beyond to help patients during the pandemic.
It come after the government unveiled plans to overhaul GP surgeries across England.
As part of the plans, patients will be able to rate their GP practice’s performance via text message. GPs which fail to provide an appropriate level of “access” will be named and shamed in league tables, as part of a move to encourage more face-to-face appointments.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has condemned the plans, with Dr Richard Vautrey saying: “GPs across England will be truly horrified that this is being presented as a lifeline to general practice, when in reality it could sink the ship altogether.”
Meanwhile, TV doctor and GP Rosemary Leonard accused health secretary Sajid Javid of “stirring up anti-GP rhetoric”, pointing out that there are not enough locum doctors to employ to plug the gaps.
One GP referred to the widely-reported initiative as an “anti-GP media campaign,” and said the receptionist at his practice was already bearing the brunt.
But it wasn’t long before “My GP” began trending on Twitter, with people sharing the positive experiences they’ve had with doctors throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Official figures show that 58% of GP appointments in England in August were face-to-face. Before the pandemic, in August 2019, four in five appointments were carried out in person.
In September, leading GPs said that the current balance of face-to-face appointments was “about right”. But a new YouGov poll suggests that two-thirds of people would prefer a face-to-face appointment.
When asked which type of GP appointment they would prefer, the survey of 5,400 British adults found that 66% would prefer a face-to-face appointment, 5% would like a video consultation and 25% said they would not mind what type of appointment they would receive.
Campaign group EveryDoctor, which represents 1,700 UK doctors, said that GPs have been “blamed” for the proportion of telephone consultations offered to patients, when it was the government who instructed them to offer initial consultations on the phone or online.
“It’s a bit of a shock for GPs to have been told vehemently by the health secretary last year that all appointments should be via telephone, and now we are told the absolute opposite and, in fact, blamed for the amount of telephone consultations that have been happening,” chief executive Dr Julia Grace Patterson said.
Announcing the plan, Sajid Javid said: “I am determined to ensure patients can see their GP in the way they want, no matter where they live.
“I also want to thank GPs and their teams for their enormous efforts in the most challenging times in living memory.”