As a GP maybe you can tell me why so few surgeries are offering a normal level of face to face consultations and patients are forced to hang on their phones for hours in the hope of being selected for one of the few slots each morning.
At the same time the low paid supermarket and shop worker staff have made themselves available every day to thousands of face to face transactions with the general public.
Had the supermarket staff elected to provide such a crippled level of service as GP's are currently doing we'd be eating rats.
Regarding face to face appointments the main issue is being in close contact in a small room without screens (atleast I don't think many have screens) with unwell people with a reasonable chance of having COVID. Moving alot of things to remote consultations means less risk to the GPs but also if the GPs aren't getting COVID they're aren't going off sick and the service can be maintained. Stuff that needs go be seen F2F can still be seen if the GP wants to after the remote consultations and I see many do this.
Bringing lots of people to the practice for F2F appointments is an issue. Lots of patients are clinically vulnerable and maintaining social distancing for waiting patients without just having a load of elderly people queuing in the cold outside is not easy.
You also have problems with cleaning the rooms after a patient has been in which needs more staff and there are limits on pts in a room per hour so you can't get much done.
Hospital staffing is dire at the moment, either because of staff with COVID or more commonly their kids getting COVID at the moment. Trying to minimise F2F contact is important in keeping people at work.
Even now I regularly have children come to my clinic with longstanding problems and parents ask if I can check them over as they've had a cough/fever. None of them have had a COVID swab and all should be isolating but people either don't know or can't be bothered to do this anymore. I can only imagine it's worse in GP land.
Now some practices take the mickey with remote working (sorry tres!) but most are just following national guidance and trying to keep staff safe.
Regarding the issues of getting appointments that's a national issue. Lots of non urgent things went unaddressed through the lockdowns and now many people want medical help, on top of winter infections being in full swing and the backlog is huge across the NHS.