This first summary report presents qualitative findings from 22 interviews held with GPs and managers from 14 GP practices between 13 and 17 May 2020.
Overview of findings
We found that the period from late March 2020 to mid-May 2020 was characterised by a drop in patient demand. Practices used the available time to reorganise services and implement social distancing, rapidly implementing a range of innovations in this period.
Key challenges faced in this period included navigating the amount of information and guidance, implementing remote working, keeping staff and patients safe, managing shielded patients and patient communications. Some GPs also found the clinical uncertainty of remote consultations challenging and the relentlessness of telephone triage tiring.
Practices have dealt with the challenges in different ways. These were underpinned by a co-ordinated practice response, for exmple the creation of small teams to interpret guidance and lead the practice response and holding regular practice meetings. Overall, practices felt they had risen to meet challenges and were coping well.
From mid-May practices reported an increase in demand, coinciding with national and local communications efforts to encourage patients to consult. Practices need guidance on how to restart routine work and manage the new working arrangements in the context of increased workload.
Citing this report
This report should be cited as:
Murphy, M. Turner, A. Denholm, R. Scott, L. Scott, A. Macleod, J. Salisbury, C. Horwood, J. RAPCI Project Summary Report 1, 5 June 2020. Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC), University of Bristol. Available from https://www.bristol.ac.uk/medialibrary/sites/primaryhealthcare/documents/rapci-project/RAPCI-Summary-Report-1.pdf
Download the full report
Rapid COVID-19 intelligence to improve primary care response: Summary report 1