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GPs warn of ‘tsunami of demand’ this winter as patient contacts surge 200%

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GPs have warned of a ‘tsunami of demand’ this winter as patient contacts surged 200% during the pandemic.

One of the largest GP providers in the UK, Modality Partnership, told The Independent it received 4.8 million calls from patients in one year alone with around a quarter going unanswered every day.

The provider, which covers 500,000 patients across the country, said its practices were now working above “safe levels” with 50 appointments a day per GP, far higher than the 35 advised by the British Medical Association.

Speaking with The Independent, Vincent Sai, chief executive and partner at Modality said the new health secretary Therese Coffey must “not point fingers” and “not find a scapegoat” as “every part of the system is under pressure. Every player in the health system is under the cosh.”

Dr Sai said: “We believe patient contacts have increased 200 per cent, over the last few years. The expectation is that GP practices have maybe four to five patient contacts per year, but if you just look at just the number of phone calls alone, it’s showing that it’s much more now.

“So something is broken somewhere...there’s more work, there are fewer people. People say I can’t get access to my GP and the hypothesis is they’re just lazy and not working, but it’s not the case.”

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Source: The Independent, 7 September 2022

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