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General practice will be a 'virtual service' in new towns, says Stevens

General practice will in future be accessed via a ‘virtual primary care service’ with patients calling GPs on their iPhone and face-to-face interaction happening via video consultation, NHS England’s chief executive has said.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Simon Stevens said that the concept of physically attending a GP appointment was ‘alien’ to entire generations of people in their teens, 20s and 30s.

He said that the NHS will look to pioneer this new health service model in new towns, like Ebbsfleet in Kent, and in high population growth areas like Tower Hamlets.

Mr Stevens told the Financial Times these towns would start with ‘the default assumption that digital interaction will be the main way that people will interact with the health service’.

He said that rather than registering with a GP, patients would sign on to: ‘the virtual primary care service, and then… rather than booking an appointment, just be able to call up a doctor or a nurse on [their] iPhone, and have the face-to-face interaction there’.

He added: ‘The idea of booking appointments and physically turning up to GP surgeries for routine things is an alien concept’.

Readers' comments (40)

  • And soon I will go to work n my hover car while eating dehydrated beef tablets!

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  • Bob Hodges

    Simon Dare - NHS Chief Executive of the Future!

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  • How about creating a few hundred virtual A and E's across the country and save these poor individuals from having to leave their homes to access the first ports of call for healthcare needs?

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  • amazing!
    do they even understand what drs do.
    we already have tel consultations for things we can solve without need for F2F appt.

    my 6 year son has better understanding: he knows when his chest and throat needs to be examined. He knows when tummy hurts a doctor will be feeling his tummy, When he has ear ache he expects someone will look into his ears and see the grey matter :possible absent in NHS CE

    e-module for resilient training coming soon by GMC
    we will need another module to learn skype and explain the pt to self examine and tell us over their iphone what their finding are.

    F2F also gives safety of being able to examine someone.
    Did J Hunt call the OOH dr for his children and ask for telephone assessment?

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  • Someone has just an emmission of flatus followed through and released it to the press,well done!

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  • Clearly he thinks we can stop examining people

    I doubt the GMC and courts would agree though

    And the way to contain demand is to restrict access not make it easier!

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  • Vinci Ho

    While some people might have thought the 5 years plan was perhaps 'making senses' , Harvey Dent is now showing the other side of his face......

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  • Reminds me to book in on that "how to do a virtual PR examination" course....

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  • mmm....will they be UK based GPs or outsourced ?

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  • This cannot be serious. Please, just sort out the basics then leave us alone. (Or is the vision of a world of real GPs for those who can afford to pay privately and virtual GPs and DIY examinations for those who can't?)

    "The idea of booking appointments and physically turning up to GP surgeries for routine things is an alien concept"....to whom? Based on what? Since when?

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