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Skype doctors freed up 2,000 GP appointments over the past two years

Doctors and nurses who are using Skype to treat older people in their homes have freed up 2,000 GP appointments, according to NHS England.

An integrated programme in Tameside - part of the NHS long term plan - set up a direct link between doctors, nurses and community teams such as care home staff and housing wardens, enabling clinicians to see and advise patients via Skype. 

The Skype team receives around 8,000 calls a year. 

As a result of this service, up to 3,000 visits to A+E were avoided over the past two years in Tameside - in addition to the 2,000 GP appointments. The 'quicker care' also saved £1.3m and hundreds of hours of NHS staff time, according to NHS England. 

Medical director at NHS England, Professor Stephen Powis, said the scheme is ‘not only good for the people we care for but a more efficient use of NHS resources.’

He said: ‘Putting every person’s individual care needs at the centre of joined-up services, supported by smart technology, is the heart of our long-term plan for the NHS.

‘What matters most to every patient and their family is that they get the right treatment, at the right time, so integrating services – across communities and between councils, carers and hospitals – is not only good for the people we care for but a more efficient use of NHS resources.’

Chief operating officer of Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust Trish Cavanagh said: ‘The strategic plans we have developed are aimed at improving access to care for people and looking to provide care in more innovative ways – including using technology to support this. In some circumstances this reduces the need for people to attend the hospital but they are still able to access expert advice in a timely manner.’

An integrated care pilot in South London reported seeing 'increased NHS costs' from GP screening of elderly people.

A recent survey found that only 0.1% of patients prefer video consultations over face-to-face appointments

Readers' comments (9)

  • Cobblers

    Not sure I follow this. 8,000 Skype calls which, no doubt, each probably taking longer than 10 minutes a call have "saved" 2,000 GP appointments. I mean WTF? I do note the ED visit reduction but ignore that as we are Primary Care based.

    4 Skype calls = 1 saved GP appointment.

    NHSE = Ar$eholes.

    How is this good for GP?

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  • Bob Hodges

    I've yet to hear a satisfactory explanation of what additional value the video component of Skype adds to the traditional phone calls we've been doing for DECADES.

    Perhaps its the added frisson of 'Emperor's New Clothes' it brings?

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  • FFS the brains coming up with this BS are monsynaptic in the extreme .To save appointments with GPs ???Who is doing these appts, GPs I bet how long is each one taking at least 10 minutes I bet.How the hell is this saving time or increasing patient safety.It make my blood boil to say the least.

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  • One would never know. Appointments that would otherwise not be needed or presented or if they would come for a face to face later after Skype.

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  • Surely a face-to-face, or telephone call, or SKYPE, or smoke signal messaging IS a CONSULTATION.
    5 Skype consultations are 5 consultations period or am I missing something?
    I spoke to over 100 people on duty today, saw no one due to triaging system we have in place; so that means I didn't actually do anything?

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  • SHOCK HORROR, you doubt the state's statistics??? Well, what do you expect when the state is the provider? :)

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  • Christopher Ho. Change the record.

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  • Why should I when it is still relevant? When there will always be those who can't see the woods for the trees?

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  • Christopher Ho | GP Partner/Principal30 May 2019 2:45pm

    I agree. COOTGICNHSFTTC is speaking for the government. Why should we doubt?

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