During the Covid-19 pandemic there was a large-scale shift to remote consulting in UK general practice. In 2021, we saw a partial return to in-person consultations, which occurred in the context of extreme workload pressures due to backlogs, staff shortages and task shifting. This study in the British Journal of General Practice looked at media depictions of remote consultations in UK general practice at a time when general practice was under stress.
The authors did a thematic analysis of national newspaper articles about remote GP consultations during two time periods: 13–26 May 2021, following an NHS England letter, and 14–27 October 2021, following a government-backed directive, both stipulating a return to in-person consulting. They found that newspaper coverage of remote consulting was strikingly negative and conclude that remote consultations have become associated in the media with poor practice. They recommend proactive dialogue between practitioners and the media to help minimise polarisation and improve perceptions around general practice.