Scrap social distancing and see more patients, GPs will be told

GPs will be told to scrap the two-metre social distancing rule in surgeries to allow them to see more patients.

The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, is expected to announce a package of measures in the coming days to cut NHS bureaucracy and free up family doctors’ time to carry out more face-to-face appointments.

Part of the package, first reported by the Daily Mail, will include the removal of the two-metre rule in practices and an easing of cleaning regimes.

Last month hospitals were told they could scrap the two-metre rule in an effort to help the NHS see more patients.

The guidance also removed the need for patients to undergo PCR tests and isolation before surgery.

It was understood infection control experts would also look at GP surgeries to determine if rules could be relaxed there also.

A Whitehall source told the newspaper some GPs resisting the return to in-person consultations would be “held to account”, but did not comment on what action would be taken if they didn’t cooperate with the new guidance.

The source said: “GPs are doing a great job under difficult circumstances – we are full of praise for the vast majority who are doing their best for patients.

“We have been working closely with the NHS on a plan to support GPs and deliver better outcomes for patients. We all want the same outcome and by working together we can achieve it but we will hold the small minority letting the side down to account.”