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Norfolk and Waveney GP surgeries see demand spike

Demand at GP surgeries in Norfolk and Waveney jumped in June, figures show, with activity closer to pre-coronavirus levels.

The Patients Association welcomed the rising numbers of people accessing doctors across England but warned continuing use of remote sessions must not become “the new normal” without assessing the benefits to patients.

NHS Digital data shows patients booked 430,440 appointments with practices in the NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG area in June – 25% more than in May.

GP demand is rising (40007051)
GP demand is rising (40007051)

While this was still 11% fewer than during the previous June, demand in May was down by 33% year-on-year.

The picture was similar across England as a whole, where 20.6 million appointments were made in June – 4.3 million more than in May.

It means appointments in June were 11% lower compared to a year ago, while in May they had been down by 33%.

The NHS cautions that changes in how practices operate during the pandemic may have affected the figures, with remote consultations under-reported.

The Royal College of GPs says demand at surgeries could soon surpass pre-crisis levels as confidence in accessing services increases.

Chairman Professor Martin Marshall said: “As normal services begin to resume, general practice will be at the forefront of dealing with the health consequences of the pandemic, as well as continuing to deliver routine GP services and an expanded flu vaccination programme and prepare for a potential second wave of Covid-19.

“It is essential that GPs and their teams have the necessary guidance, resources, and workforce capacity to manage these challenges and continue to deliver good-quality care.”

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