Are online GP consultations the solution to increasing patient access to health care, while reducing GP workloads?

 

 

by Dr Jeremy Horwood and Professor Chris Salisbury, Centre for Academic Primary Care and NIHR CLAHRC West

NHS England’s long-term plan released on 7 January sets out a commitment that over the next five years every patient will get the right to telephone or online GP consultation as part of its ‘digital first primary care offer‘.

Online consultations are seen as a solution to improve patient access to primary care, increase convenience (saving time waiting and travelling) and reduce face-to-face appointments, freeing up GP time. But our research has found that unless these systems are carefully implemented, the benefits policy makers are hoping for in relation to reductions in GP workload and increases in available appointments for patients might not be realised.

The Centre for Academic Primary Care-led Alt-Con study examined how a variety of technological alternatives to face-to-face GP consultations were being used in … Read more