GPs issue open letter on current pressure and how people can support their local NHS

Leading GPs from across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have issued an open letter to local people detailing the pressure currently affecting primary care services.

The letter, which has been signed by the ICB’s three locality clinical leads, Dr Bryn Bird, Dr Amanda Webb and Dr Edd Rendell, offers an insight into the increasing demand being seen by frontline GPs and their teams.

Available to read in full on the ICB website, the open letter explains how staff absences, rising coronavirus cases and an increase in demand for urgent and emergency care has created the kind of pressure not usually seen outside of winter.

The GPs have also shared how practices are now working differently, with more consultations happening remotely, either by phone or video call.

These virtual appointments, which are happening alongside those carried out in person, allow clinicians to be more efficient with their time, while also helping to prevent overcrowding in practice waiting rooms.

Writing to local people, the three GPs said: “Our GP practices will always offer appointments, either face to face, or via remote consultation, with the health and care professional most appropriate for a patient’s needs.

“We know that people have been hugely supportive of us throughout the pandemic, and we truly appreciate this, but it’s important to remember that Covid-19 has not gone away, and we still need your help.”

Local people have been urged to play their part and do whatever they can to support their local NHS at this busy time.

Practical steps include visiting a pharmacy for health advice and information instead of automatically calling a GP practice, and using the NHS 111 service when unsure of where to go for the most appropriate care and treatment.

Other measures people can take to support their own health and wellbeing include having the necessary vaccinations for both Covid-19 and flu, as well as investing in a home medicine cabinet containing essential items, such as a digital thermometer, paracetamol and anti-diarrhoea tablets.

Dr Ruth Grabham, Medical Director, said: “As a clinician, I’m beginning to see more people coming down with non-covid-related conditions as the weather turns colder, but the good thing is that many minor illnesses can be safely managed at home through rest and by already having the recommended items in your medicine cabinet.”

Visit to read the doctors’ open letter in full, and to find information on local health and care services.

General health advice is available through the NHS App, and at

How GP practices are working now

This infographic explains how GP practices are working now.

You can also download the PDF format of the below image.