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GPs have become the new fall guys for government failures | Gaby Hinsliff

The Tory press are on the warpath, followed by Sajid Javid. Clapping for carers suddenly feels a long time ago

The corridors of my once bustling GP’s surgery were eerily quiet, the waiting room deserted. The new routine too was disconcerting; wait in the car park, phone to announce your arrival, and only then will someone in full PPE collect you, as gingerly as if they were handling a suspect parcel.

But arguably that’s what we all are now, at least to the kind of clinically vulnerable people often found in doctors’ waiting rooms. The cheerful nurse who did my smear test a few weeks ago – sorry if that’s too much information, but take this as a friendly reminder that too many people put off life-saving screening appointments during the pandemic – confided that, days earlier, someone had pitched up for a routine non-urgent test maskless, coughing and with a temperature. Despite the risk of infecting the whole building, they had still been startled to be sent home.

Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist

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