GP Access and Online Consultations during COVID-19


During the COVID-19 pandemic, primary care services are working in a different way to prevent the spread of the disease and protect patients and staff, while still providing essential services. Where patients are advised that a face-to-face appointment is necessary, services have taken measures to minimise risk to patients and staff.

This document provides a single, consistent source of information to clearly set out to members of the public how primary care services are operating.


While the use of technology has always been a priority for the NHS, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant clinicians have had to work differently to minimise face-to-face appointments and social contact in line with national advice. During the past couple of months, GP practices and local residents have been using a variety of digital tools.

One of those digital tools is an online system called DoctorLink, UK’s leading health and symptom assessment platform, providing 24/7 access to healthcare for more than 10 million NHS patients. As of last Friday, 22 May, investment from the CCGs has meant 100 of the 151 GP practices in mid and south Essex have started using the system.

So far nearly 10,500 residents have registered to use it and our GP practices have carried out just under 3,700 symptom assessments. Practices have also carried out just over 22,000 video consultations and sent more than 50,000 text messages to support their patients.