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Massive leap in GP online consultation capability

Video consultations are now available in 97 per cent of GP practices, covering 98 per cent of the population. Prior to Covid-19 only 5 per cent of practices could offer video consultations.

Alongside this, online consultations are now available in 75 per cent of practices, covering 77 per cent of the population. Another 20 per cent of practices are currently implementing an online consultation solution and are expected to be live in the next couple of weeks.

The massive growth in the availability of video and online consultation services from GP practices has been highlighted in the Covid-19 Primary Care Bulletin by Ed Waller, director for primary care strategy and NHS contracts at NHSE&I.

To support total triage (remote total triage) and remote management, practices and commissioners were asked to have an online and video consultation system procured and live by 30 April.

“Remarkable progress has been made. This has helped protect both patients and staff by reducing footfall and ensuring general practice remains open and available to anyone who needs it,” said Mr Waller.

Work is also underway to provide more support to social care providers. This includes:

  • The rollout of NHSmail to over 8,000 care homes and over 2,500 domiciliary care providers
  • Supporting remote consultations, and reducing social isolation and loneliness for care home residents by working with suppliers to provide tablet devices capable of secure video calling
  • Improving care home connectivity and WIFI access by negotiating a number of offers from telecomms providers
  • Increased digital implementation support to care providers though the new Digital Social Care helpline
  • Increased access to  information for care professionals through the new Care workforce app and promotion of the care home capacity tracker.

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