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Cheshire’s GP practices conducted tens of thousands of face-to-face appointments every month in 2021

New figures reveal that Cheshire’s GP practices conducted more than 167,000 face-to-face appointments every month in 2021 despite the ongoing challenges presented by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

While playing a leading role in the county’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, Cheshire’s GP practices also conducted 108,000 telephone and video appointments, processed more than 20,000 referrals and issued more than 1.3 million prescriptions every month during 2021.

Sandbach GP Dr Andrew Wilson, Clinical Chair of NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said the new figures showcase the breadth of work in primary care to support local people.

“Despite the many, many challenges we all faced in 2021, Cheshire’s GP practices continued to work incredibly hard to support local people with both COVID and non-COVID related health issues,” he said.

“As these statistics clearly show, Cheshire’s GP practices were extremely busy in 2021 – it’s just that some of our services now look a bit different. We've introduced new ways of working such as telephone and video appointments to help keep people safe, while also leading the way on the county’s COVID-19 and flu vaccination programmes.”

To continue to protect against the spread of COVID-19 – and other viruses – you may now be asked to discuss your conditions over the phone or online first to assess what would be most appropriate for you. However, face-to-face appointments are available to all patients, in line with clinical need.

During 2021, more than 12,000 Cheshire patients also registered to access their records online each month and close to 10,000 registered for at least one online GP service.

Clare Watson, Accountable Officer of NHS Cheshire CCG, added: “Like all health and care services, General Practice is incredibly busy right now, with GPs continuing to prioritise urgent patients whilst supporting the roll out of the COVID-19 booster vaccination programme.

“NHS 111 – both online and on the phone – is also there to support you and your family with any urgent health needs you may have, however if you have an appointment for an assessment, diagnostic procedure or other treatment in General Practice, it’s important that you attend.

“Please remain patient with us as we work hard to provide the services and care that communities across Cheshire need.”