Phone consultations have “negative impact on care”

MORE than a third of doctors who have taken up phone consultations with patients throughout the pandemic said it has had a negative impact on the care they are able to provide.

A new survey from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) found 39 per cent of doctors were concerned about the use of phone consultations, while 77 per cent reported feeling more concerned for their other patients than for those with COVID-19.

Of the 1,218 doctors across the UK who responded, less than half (45 per cent) said they wanted their working pattern to return to what it was before the pandemic. This comes as almost half of doctors said their jobs had been informally altered to cope with coronavirus.

Only 10 per cent of respondents felt prepared for services to return to normal, while 40 per cent thought it would take at least 18 months for the NHS to get back on an “even keel”.

Despite a government pledge to risk assess all healthcare workers for COVID-19, only 24 per cent said they have had a formal assessment.

RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard said he was "spectacularly proud" of how doctors have adapted to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added: "We need to listen to doctors’ concerns and continue to adapt the way we are working, not only to secure and retain our NHS workforce, but also to prepare for the possibility of a second peak of the virus later this year."

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