Health Care

New scheme to pilot GP consultations via smartphone videolink

New scheme to pilot GP consultations via smartphone videolink”

The NHS has given the green light to trial "GP at Hand", a video consultation set up with a locally based doctor.

"This service is open to anyone within the eligibility area and from our pilots of the service in Essex and West London, we have seen a broad range of patients benefiting from being able to see a GP quickly and at the patients' convenience, including elderly patients who find it hard to get to surgeries".

"This new NHS service makes it easier for patients to see a doctor quickly at any time and from anywhere and doesn't cost the NHS a penny more". Enrolled patients will enter symptoms on a mobile app and will be called within two hours to discuss the information. Babylon Health is one such service that's just become available on the NHS, meaning eligible patients can book a free video consultation and chat to a GP within two hours, and sometimes much sooner.

If a patient needs a face-to-face appointment, they must travel to clinics in commuter hubs.

Dr Mobasher Butt, part of the team behind the new service, told BBC Radio's Today programme: "It's high time that NHS patients were given the opportunity to benefit from technology to improve access to healthcare".

"With the NHS making use of this technology, we can put patients in front of a GP within minutes on their phone, so the days of ringing frantically at 8am for an appointment should be long gone". "We understand that with increasingly long waiting times to see a GP, an online service is convenient and appealing", Stokes-Lampard said.

Further London surgeries will be added in due course and the scheme will roll out "across the country in the near future", Babylon said.

Concerns have arisen about the scheme, however, particularly from the Royal College of Global Positioning System.

The NHS's new GP app has today come under criticism from the Royal College of Global Positioning System.

Stokes-Lampard added: "We understand that, with increasingly long waiting times to see a GP, an online service is convenient and appealing, but older patients and those living with more complex needs want continuity of care and the security of their local practice where their Global Positioning System know them".

Professor Helen Stokes- Lampard, chair of the RCGP said: "We are also concerned that patients are being given the option of switching back to their local surgery if they are not satisfied with the level of service offered by the app".

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