Last week a letter signed by 435 GP practice staff on access to GP practices was published in The Times. The letter was drafted by a group of grass root GPs, in response to the recent misleading allegations that GPs have been “closed” during the pandemic. These headlines damage the reputation and morale of the workforce.
Responsible media reporting is a patient safety issue, as those patients who believe this false rhetoric may not seek help for worrying symptoms. We have already seen reduced rates of cancer diagnosis during the pandemic by around 40%, along with reduced presentations of other major non-covid illnesses.
Irresponsible media may also cause inappropriate use of emergency departments and the NHS 111 helpline, which adds further pressure on our secondary care colleagues at a critical time for the NHS.
GPs Simon Hodes and Neena Jha discuss this further in this BMJ Opinion article.