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NHS promotes e-consultations

In a recent report, the NHS has promised £45m to GPs to stimulate the uptake of electronic consultations, along with additional funding for a raft of other technology-driven improvements.

In the recently released General Practice Forward View, the NHS discusses various measures that it intends to take (backed by a multi-billion pound investment) to deal with the issues faced by GPs. Of real interest is the emphasis that the report places on utilising technology to enhance patient care and experience, as well as streamlining practice processes.

In relation to adopting technology as a way to improve practice infrastructure, the NHS has promised an 18% increase in allocation toward funding for the provision of IT services and technology for GPs. In addition, from 2017/2018 the NHS is to offer every practice in the country support to adopt online consultation systems. Depending on uptake, there will be up to £45 million of extra investment to support this.

Other technology driven enhancements identified include:

  • Online access for patients to accredited clinical triage systems
  • Development of an approved Apps library to support clinicians and patients
  • Supporting practices to offer patients more online self-care and self-management services
  • Actions to make it easier for practices to work collaboratively, including achievement of full interoperability across IT systems
  • Wi-Fi services in GP practices for staff and patients

WAB Comment

It is encouraging to see the health sector enhancing its services through the adoption of new technology. Online consultation has been very successful (particularly in the US) and hopefully widespread adoption in the UK will help both in relation to improving access to personal medical advice for patients, while also minimising any additional stresses on an already overstretched workforce.

Disclaimer: This article is produced for and on behalf of White & Black Limited, which is a limited liability company registered in England and Wales with registered number 06436665. It is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The contents of this article should be viewed as opinion and general guidance, and should not be treated as legal advice.

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