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  • 20 April 2020 to 19 August 2020
  • Project No: 493
  • Funding round: FR20

The coronavirus pandemic has required rapid change in the way general practices deliver consultations to meet the sudden increase in demand and carry out social distancing. In March 2020 most UK general practices stopped making appointments in advance. Instead, patients either phone their practice, complete an online written consultation or phone NHS 111 and because of the risk of infection, patients are offered telephone or video consultations, instead of face-to-face.

The current situation is an opportunity to rapidly research how primary care responds to the pandemic in the way it manages primary care demand and implements alternatives to the face-to-face consultation. This is of interest regionally, nationally and internationally and will enable innovation to be shared among general practice, and with other health systems to improve their response to the pandemic.

Over a four-month period we will collect information on 111 calls and GP appointments for the 1 million patients in Bristol North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. We will show how many calls there are from particular types of patients (for example by age, or with certain long-term conditions) in order to highlight areas of need. We will also look at the length of calls and type of calls. Also, we will review and assess information from policy briefings, general practice websites, online help platforms and social media websites to see how general practice is coping with the increased demand. We will use this information to highlight challenges and areas of innovation. Every fortnight we will interview a manager at 20 selected GP practices to examine their innovation. We will send fortnightly reports to general practices, highlighting common challenges in meeting demand during the pandemic and innovative ways practices have coped with this. We will also share the information nationally.


Chris Salisbury, John Macleod, Helen Bolton, Victoria Wilson


Amount awarded: £39 801.00

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document


Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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