The doctor will see you now… online
NHS England is offering a £45m fund to support GP practices to adopt online consultation systems. However, researchers say that evidence from a pilot exercise has shown that the use and effectiveness of online consultation facilities is limited.
Whilst some experts view this type of consultation as an obvious development in the future of healthcare provision, others have raised concerns as to whether they are appropriate for first-time assessments of new patients, or where a patient has a complex medical history and may have multiple symptoms.
Over a fifth of all consultations in the study were for administrative reasons, such as requesting a sick note or repeat prescription, with the next most common reasons being infections and musculoskeletal issues.
The way forward?
With patients often finding themselves waiting days, if not weeks, to get an appointment, any move to improve access to healthcare is obviously to be welcomed. It’s encouraging to note from the evaluation that more than six in ten online consultations did not require a face-to-face consultation, thus freeing up a doctor’s time. Feedback from patients shows that they value access to services via this option.
Here to help
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