Published 22 April 2020
Non-covid-19 health demands are down, but this can't last without mortal consequences. As reassurances start to encourage people to use health services, GP practices will feel the brunt of this demand. Some, but not all will be manageable online.
There will also be the ongoing (potentially growing) primary care needs of the shielded and vulnerable populations. Their needs will range from advice and guidance through to additional care and support. And it is unclear how long this might be needed - the promise of a vaccine or the panacea of test and trace seem too good to be true (for now). Our analysis suggests that even a moderate increase in demand from the vulnerable and shielded population cohorts could add 5.5 million primary care consultations per month.
This additional demand would represent a 22% rise on current levels and is equivalent to every full-time GP having to find time for 8-9 further consultations each day. Or an extra 6,000 GPs or equivalent care professional in total - that is equivalent to an additional one per 10,000 population, or five per Primary Care Network.
Work has been done in hospitals to make sure there is enough capacity to deal with the surge in demand from Covid-19. As the nature of the response to Covid-19 changes, support is needed for primary care services as well.