This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

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)

  • It is more realistic to believe that if we spend the money, invested in IT, on eradicating disease and illness instead, then there will be no disease or illness and we can all live happily ever after!!!

    Problem solved!!! £Billions saved on Health, alas those £Billions now transferred to the unemployment budget!!!!

    All of this is farcical, we cannot have a fully fit society because the NHS and all its peripherals are one of the biggest employers in the world what would we do if they were to all be made redundant?

    Similar to having a crime free society, we don't really want it, because what would we do with the Police and support staff, the lawyers, the judges, the solicitors, etc.etc.etc.

    We already have a superb system!!! The answer is simple......... stop using the NHS as a political punchbag and allow the experts to get on with what they are good at.................. providing a service to patients. Get, and keep, Politics out of the Health Service. Problem "REALLY" solved!!!

    Perhaps the Government have all got shares in SKYPE as well as Pharmaceuticals, Oil/Petrol companies etc etc etc.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dylan Summers,
    sorry to be pedantic, but assuming UK population of 60 million, 1% vs 99% would mean telephone use is 990 times more popular!
    I'll try and get out more!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I remember there was a virtual doctor in one of the 'Star Trek' series. Perhaps that's where the govt is looking now for new ideas after running out of any sensible ones.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Just think of all the extra tax payers money which will need to be spent to teach pts how to examine themselves and provide the relevant equipment to do so.
    On the upside, GPs will no longer be at risk of catching the patients infections!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This is the 100 year anniversary of Einstein's theory of General Relativity,
    It is time for a new Steven theory of Virtual reality. But what is this guy's IQ ? Dear God, save the NHS from its very virtual [as opposed to real and proper] managers,
    Dear God, will we ever escape from the likes of Langsley, Hunt and Stevens?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Sorry, headline should read "General practice will be a virtualLLY NON EXISTENT service. Anywhere."

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This is about as sensible as virtual dentistry with obviously a virtual drill and virtual fillings. I expect that will be tomorrows bright idea for a cheaper dental servicwe

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The last 5 ano rectal cancers i have diagnosed have been by the old fashioned finger all lower respiratory infections have been by percussion and stethoscope .Can't be done virtually sorry

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We are doctors, same as in the hospitals.
    I cant believe they expect orthopods, surgeons, ophthalmogists, respiratory consultants, psychiatrist/etc/etc/etc to treat people by telephone consultation. It is absolutely ridiculous, and if true shows how little they think of primary care!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • we just have to be innovative and use our imagination

    1. pr exam - just get a family helper to do it to the patient whilst they are on the phone.
    2. chest exam - a family helper can use an upturned wine glass
    3. minor ops - can be done with a stanley knife, kitchen towels, and duct tape.
    4. if they live of their own them i'm sure there is an apple app to help out

    we just have to do lateral thinking guys !

    think of the possibilities we can now provide 24 hrs a day access as we can now manage our patients when we are at home or away on holiday (the one week of the year we get off) virtually !

    i think this is another splendid well thought out idea which i'm sure the RCGP will fully support.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say