The COVID-19 pandemic led to a wholesale re-ordering of primary care service delivery. Virtually overnight, consultations moved to telephone calls or online interactions wherever possible. Service changes which have been debated at length and would ordinarily have taken years to implement became normal practice. In this chapter, we describe the NHS in England primary care policy response and locate this in a wider UK and international context, drawing on co-author Fisher’s frontline experience as a GP to describe how primary care organisations in one locality worked to create a new service. We then present findings from an empirical study supported by the Health Foundation to capture narratives from a sample of GPs, practice managers and community nurses in England and Scotland about their experiences of and responses to this unusual and shifting situation. We draw on analysis of qualitative longitudinal data captured in self-recordings, written contributions and short online interviews. The chapter concludes by discussing the ways in which primary health care professionals’ roles and identities may be changing as new forms of service provision emerge in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It is clear that the long-term implications of the pandemic on primary care and its practitioners are unknown.


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Burn, E., Locock, L., Fisher, R. & Smith, J. 2021, 'The Impact of COVID-19 on Primary Care Practitioners: Transformation, Upheaval and Uncertainty', Organising Care in a Time of Covid-19, pp. 179-201. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82696-3_9

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Last updated: 08 December 2023
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