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GPs go forth

Online consultation technology for GPs to be fast tracked due to Covid-19

Exclusive NHS England last night issued a confidential 48-hour tender for the rapid procurement of online consultation in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Last week GP surgeries were advised by NHS England to start moving to a total triage system, as well as undertaking remote care where possible.

The accelerated tender documents were issued to a group of trusted NHS suppliers by NHS England National Commercial Procurement Hub. The rapid advancement of digital services and video consultations will mean that around one quarter of CCGs across England will have access to the new system.

Harry Longman, CEO of askmyGP, one of the companies on the NHS supplier list said: ‘It’s definitely been brought forward, it shows that NHS England are taking this very, very seriously.’

Suppliers will have 48 hours to submit proposals, a process which would normally take two to three weeks.

Mr Longman added: ‘[The procurement] can accelerate a change which will benefit general practice and patients in the long term.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair said: ‘Any measures that will assist practices and GPs at this time are to be encouraged. These systems could help GPs continue to deliver care in a safe way, helping to minimise the risk of infection and allowing those that are in most need of treatment to be prioritised.'

He added: ‘However, it is important that any changes do not place any additional financial burden on the practice, nor add to the workload of doctors.'

NHS England said they expect to evaluate and award the tender by 20 March.

Earlier this month, NHS England medical director Dr Nikita Kanani advised GPs to use online booking for triage in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits that every patient will have the right to be offered digital-first primary care by 2023/24.


Readers' comments (10)

  • Azeem Majeed

    AccuRx have already launched a workable video-consultation product.

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  • Benn Gooch

    Nye are another one to look at

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  • Another vote for accuRx. The text function and templates are superb.

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  • AccuRx is excellent for both text and video - however is anyone else cynical enough to detect a bit of opportunism from NHS-E here?

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  • Knowledge is Porridge

    Any views/experience here on eConsult.
    Looks terrible to me but CCG keeps pushing...

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  • If you want an opinion on Econsult then I suggest you look at the evidence they quote on their own website. I have seen other posts suggesting we all should scrutinise who has developed this type of tool and why (eg patient outcomes or lack of GPs?).
    Prof Malby at rcgp conference explained beautifully that apps and money will not solve our workforce crisis (and she was talking about it when 20% weren't self isolating without testing available -grrrrr!)
    We need national and local government and media explaining to the public that services are not functioning like normal to enable us to get to the unwell/at risk and have the capacity for what our colleagues in secondary care need us to pick up for them.

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  • It all helps but there is a manpower shortage. Where are the proper PPEs once again? Any suggestions of electronic Med3s?

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  • Primarycare has to explore all options to reduce physical contact with patients!. We have started using accurx, you can send Med 3 on accurx. We need to push online access to book telephone/video appointments/queries. Is there software by which we could send blood forms electronically ?

    I would welcome guidance on prescribing antibiotcs over the phone and video link in this difficult time.

    Can anyone recommend the best platform for sorting symptoms / queries online?

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  • 5 weeks to this arriving- bit bloody late for us!

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  • It would help if they got the basics right. I recon I lose an hour a day waiting for the clinical software to catch up. Only bit that really works is the spinning hourglass thing! We were 'upgraded' to the new fast NHS internet which produced a perceptable decrease in speed!!

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