FAMILY doctors will reportedly be told to tear up the Covid rule book in order to give them more time to see patients in person.
The move is expected as part of a package from Health Secretary Sajid Javid to improve GP access.
Family doctors may be given more freedom from Covid rules in order to see more patients face to faceCredit: Getty
It is set to be published in the coming days and will focus on cutting bureaucracy for medics, the Daily Mail reports.
GP surgeries are likely to be given fresh Covid guidance, including scrapping the two-metre social distancing rule and relaxing enhanced cleaning regimes.
A Whitehall source told the Mail the new package would see ministers work with the profession to create more in-person appointments, following a stark decline during the pandemic.
The source added: “GPs are doing a great job under difficult circumstances – we are full of praise for the vast majority who are doing their best for patients.
“We have been working closely with the NHS on a plan to support GPs and deliver better outcomes for patients.
“We all want the same outcome and by working together we can achieve it but we will hold the small minority letting the side down to account.”
Latest figures suggest that fewer than 60 per cent of GP consultations in England are held in person, compared with 80 per cent before the pandemic.
And the situation is likely to be even worse, as official statistics have incorrectly classed telephone consultations as face to face.
Campaigners point out that face-to-face appointments are needed to spot symptoms and conditions that might otherwise be missed.
There are also fears that patients may be ignoring potentially dangerous issues because they know they won’t be able to see a doctor.
Under the new plans, hospitals could help reduce the workload of GPs by writing more prescriptions and sick notes for workers.
Pharmacies could also be asked to do more to help, including delivering extra vaccinations.
Sajid Javid is said to believe that social distancing in GP surgeries fails to reflect the success of Britain’s jab rollout.
Many surgeries still have the two-metre rule in place, meaning fewer people can be in their waiting rooms at any one time.
NHS England has been responsible for social distancing rules in GP surgeries.
Hospitals switched to a one-metre rule last month.