As health secretary welcomes shift to phone consultations, experts warn that the change may not suit everyone

While the number of GP appointments overall dropped during lockdown, there was a clear shift towards remote consultations driven by the necessity of the Covid-19 outbreak. NHS figures show that 48% of 17m GP appointments in May were carried out over the telephone, compared with 14% of 25m in February.

This shift away from face-to-face meetings, according to the health secretary, Matt Hancock, on Thursday, was a development he was keen to maintain. “From now on, all consultations should be tele-consultations unless there’s a compelling clinical reason not to,” he said, adding that it was something that had been particularly welcomed in rural areas.

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