FILE PHOTO: A doctor checks on patient notes  as the first patients are admitted to the NHS Seacole Centre at Headley Court, Surrey on May 28, 2020, a disused military hospital, which has been converted during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.(Photo by VICTORIA JONES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)FILE PHOTO: A doctor checks on patient notes as the first patients are admitted to the NHS Seacole Centre at Headley Court, Surrey on May 28, 2020, a disused military hospital, which has been converted during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.(Photo by VICTORIA JONES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

NHS England has asked General practitioners (GPs) to ensure that patients can access face-to-face appointments.

In a letter sent to all GP practices, NHS said that GPs should communicate, through online or verbal conversations, to the public that face-to-face is also available besides video and phone consultations.

Those who fail to offer the service will face ‘enforcement action’, the letter reminded.

GP surgeries were also provided with a communications toolkit to aid them in highlighting their practice availability with their local population.

Nikki Kanani, medical director of primary care for NHS England, has said that general practice had quickly adapted to significantly increase the availability of video, phone and face-to-face consultations in the last few months.

“While many people, particularly those most vulnerable to Covid-19 want the convenience of a consultation over the phone or video, the NHS has been and will continue to offer face-to-face appointments,” she said.

“I would urge anyone who feels they need medical support to come forward so they can get the care, support and advice they need.”

On July 31, NHS wrote to all practices stating that failure to offer remote triage and video, online and telephone consultation and appropriate face-to-face appointments at their surgeries will be considered a breach of their contract.

According to NHS data, there were 102 million appointments in general practice, half of which were recorded over the phone or through video calls during March to July period.

In March this year, GPs were urged to move to remote consultations where possible to reduce the spread of Covid-19.