Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has said that access to general practice is ‘getting back to normal’, according to reports.
Mr Javid is this week on a road trip across the country to promote his recovery plan, which was finally published last week after several delays.
He is reported to have made the comments during the Cheshire leg of his tour, at the opening of a new emergency department at Leighton Hospital in Crewe yesterday.
According to local newspaper Cheshire Live, Mr Javid said: ‘I think most people understand why at the height of the pandemic, especially before we had the vaccines, people couldn’t go to see GPs in a normal way.
‘The access was improving dramatically until Omicron came along. We did ask GPs during the Omicron wave to focus on vaccinations, particularly for the most vulnerable, those in care homes, those who might be homebound.
‘But now, since we’re past the worst of that, services are getting back to normal.’
It comes as NHS England last month asked GP practices to ‘restore routine services’ following the Covid booster drive.
Mr Javid also claimed that we currently have ‘more doctors and nurses than ever before’, according to the local paper, , although the RCN recently warned about the numbers leaving the NMC register.
Announcing the week-long trip, Mr Javid said he plans to visit general practices to ‘personally thank them’ for pandemic sacrifices.
He will visit a ‘range of health and care settings to hear from staff and patients to inform future policy’ and host daily Q&As with the public to understand their experiences of the NHS, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) added.
Mr Javid said: ‘As we learn to live with Covid, my mission is clear. We must tackle the backlog of people waiting for treatment, bring NHS and social care services closer together and deal with the stark inequalities and level up the health of the nation.
‘Nurses, doctors, GPs, vaccinators, porters and so many others have put everything on the line to care for patients and families throughout this pandemic, and that’s why I wanted to thank them personally.’
He added: ‘This week I want to hear directly from staff, patients, residents and local people about their experiences of the health and care systems and discuss my plans for NHS and social care recovery and reform.’
A version of this story was originally published in Nursing in Practice sister publication Pulse.