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GPs to offer 'virtual appointments' to patients

GPs in Wales will offer virtual appointments to patients as a part of a five-year IT strategy launched by the devolved health administration.

The Welsh Government said allowing patients to have consultations by email or video conference would reduce costs and delays.

It also said NHS staff should be supplied with smartphones and tablets to access data and care records swiftly – although a Welsh Government spokesperson said it would be up to individual health boards to fund this.

Under the five-year plan, patients will be able to order prescriptions, book appointments, and access health records and test results online, giving patients an active role in managing their health, said the Government.

Patients will also be encouraged to use smartphone apps to monitor health conditions such as asthma and diabetes.

Dr Ruth Hussey, chief medical officer for Wales said: ‘Digital technology can provide information for patients in accessible ways, help to ensure effective monitoring of treatment, and make services easier to use. The strategy sets out a clear ambition to improve the use of technology and data.’

Health minister Mark Drakeford said: ‘Our vision is for more interactive, personalised health and social services, allowing people to access services wherever and whenever it’s convenient to them.

‘Frontline staff who work in our health and care services must also have access to the very latest digital technology, which allows them to deliver services in new, innovative ways that put the needs of patients first.’

Readers' comments (11)

  • Such a good idea! Why not introduce free gp services to patients 24/7.

    As no patients now need an address or proof of living locally to be registered, then anyone in the world could get free gp services, appointments and advice online!

    Happy days!

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  • Absolutely!

    I'm gonna start telling my friends in my native country where health care is not free and I'll start translating for a fee. I can see myself getting way richer then being a GP without having to spend a single penny on medical indemnity.

    By the way where is the evidence free unlimited email and video conference will reduce work load? Speaking to local colleagues who do Doctor First (telephone triage system for every clinical contact) their work load has increased , although their patients are happier

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  • Then to keep patients happy the doctors in Wales could outsource their online work to 'virtual doctor partners' who may live elsewhere, as the new contract will enforce 24/7 appointments to keep A&E empty.

    Then when gp practices finally collapse, the ground work will have been done and the structure in place to sell the online system to the private sector who will then employ doctors from abroad to work virtually in the UK.

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  • virtual appointments with virtual GP's to treat virtual problems that never needed to come anywhere near a GP in the first place. Build virtual lanes on a motorway and see how quickly they fill up and become over crowded with REAL cars who wouldn't have been there in the first place if they didn't exist.

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  • This is pseudo-medicine and GP's have become pseudo-doctors.

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  • And there'll be VIRTUALLY no one left to man the service......

    We live in end times, people.

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  • So many interesting and questions are raised by this exciting insight into the future of medicine!

    Just wondering how they expect us to do virtual physical examinations???

    Imagine carrying out a virtual PR!!! Perhaps we should practice how to achieve this on Mark Drakeford???

    Virtual probes could be a future industry winner!×@## (take note any future budding doctors with entrepreneurial ambitions)

    Could we also have virtual indemnity as if computers help provide the diagnosis they need to take part of the rap if virtual screening or triage miss really ill patients.

    Speaking of which, how do really ill patients fit in who cannot talk virtually or do not have computers or who have physical abnormalities which cannot be detected on camera?

    Actually why discuss them as they obviously do not fit into this brave new virtual world....

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  • Breath taking ignorance!!!

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  • Vinci Ho

    When they said 5000 new GPs by 2020, they never said it could not be 5000 new , 'virtual' GPs , did they?
    In fact , you can have 10,000 or 15,000 new 'GPs' if you like . Come on mates, Ozzy needs to reach surplus in economy in 2020, give the man a break !!

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  • As soon as a computer system passes the Turing Test it can take over from me. Provided I get real cash and Robodoc gets paid in virtual washers.

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