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

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its a daft idea. Not just because of the obvious one of not being able to do physical examination but also all the other reasons face to face is valuable. When I see a patient I can tell so much about how they are feeling by subtle signs on their face or their demeanour and way of moving and sitting that would probably be lost on a Skype interview. There are also the times I may touch a patient for reassurance or offer a tissue or draw a little diagram or show them something that could not be done on Skye. My patients often like to bring a partner or one or two family members or friends in. Their views can be helpful. I think that would be harder on Skype. And actually It misunderstands young people to think they don't value having a trusting relationship with a doctor they know, even if for a short period. We have many younger people registered in our practice and many are living away from home and struggling with new jobs, new relationships, caring for themselves and so on. They often consult about apparently trivial things and I have come to realise its because they feel anxious and vulnerable. its not easy being a young person trying to make your way in life. I feel I am able to create a supportive doctor-patient relationship which provides reassurance. Even in a high turnover practice in the inner city where I work we are able to provide good person centred care and although the young person may move on in a year or two, the fact they can have a proper human relationship with a doctor can be tremendously helpful for them. I just don't think Skype could do that. And why is he suggesting Skype and not just telephone unless its because he realises there is something about the human face that matters? Yet the human face mediated through a Skype screen loses so much in translation. its like he wants to pretend its a proper consultation cos you can see each other, but its not.

Posted date

07 Jan 2015

Posted time

11:28pm

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