General practitioners (GPs) have been among the frontline workers since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Reflecting and analyzing the ongoing pandemic response of general practice provides essential information and serves as a precondition for outlining future health policy strategies.
To investigate the effects of the pandemic on GPs’ daily work and well-being and to describe needs for improvement in primary care highlighted by the pandemic.
A 2-time cross-sectional online survey involving GPs in a northern Italian region was conducted in September 2020 and March/April 2021.
Eighty-four GPs (29.6% of invited GPs) participated in the first survey, and 41 GPs (14.4%) in the second survey. Most GPs experienced a notable workload increase which was tendentially higher during the advanced stages of the pandemic. A notable increase between the first and the second survey was noted regarding the frequency of Covid-related patient contacts and phone calls. Communication with health authorities and hospitals was rated as improvable. Psychological distress among GPs tended to increase over time; female GPs were more affected in the first survey. Most practices introduced major changes in their workflow, mainly appointment-based visits and separating Covid-19-suspected patients. Availability of protective equipment considerably increased over time. In the second survey, the GPs felt more prepared to self-protection and outpatient treatment of Covid-affected patients.
The work of GPs has been substantially impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Efforts should be undertaken to efficiently strengthen primary care which plays an important role in pandemic events.

© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press.