Abstract Background Primary care manages a significant proportion of healthcare in the United Kingdom and should be a key part of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic response. Aim To assess preparedness for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic by understanding GPs’ perception of their ability to manage current and future service demand, set-up of triage processes, and training in Covid-19 infection prevention and control procedures. Design and setting Cross-sectional survey of practicing GPs in the United Kingdom, with 2 rounds of data collection early in the pandemic. Methods Online survey, scripted and hosted by medeConnect Healthcare, comprising 6 closed prompts on 7-point Likert scales, and an optional free-text component. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Free-text data were analysed thematically. Results One thousand two GPs completed each round; 51 GPs completed free-text responses in March, and 64 in April. Quantitative data showed greatest confidence in triage of Covid-19 patients, and GPs were more confident managing current than future Covid-19 demand. GPs’ responses were more optimistic and aligned in April than March. Free-text data highlighted that GPs were concerned about lack of appropriate personal protective equipment and personal risk of Covid-19 infection in March, and unmet needs of non-Covid-19 patients in April. In both rounds, GPs expressed feeling overlooked by government and public health bodies. Conclusion Guidance to support general practice clinicians to manage future waves of Covid-19 or other health emergencies must be tailored to general practice from the outset, to support clinicians to manage competing health demands, and mitigate impacts on primary care providers’ wellbeing.
Oxford University Press (OUP)