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Hunt's GP smartphone app to 'strengthen' patient relationships, says public health chief

Allowing patients to access their medical record and book GP appointments through phone apps will help them build stronger relationships with their GPs, the Government’s lead on NHS information at Public Health England has said.

Professor John Newton, chief knowledge officer at Public Health England (PHE) and interim chair of the National Information Board, told Pulse ‘being able to transact with general practice using smartphones is definitely the way forward’ and this would ‘strengthen the bond’ between patients and GPs.

It comes after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a new multimillion pound package to expand digital health services, with the promise that people will soon be able to register with a GP, access their GP record and receive medical advice through smartphone apps.

GPC leads warned health apps should not be seen as a substitute for traditional care delivered by GPs.

However, speaking to Pulse at PHE’s annual conference, Professor Newton said the apps were ‘not intended to replace face-to-face contact, but provide another avenue for those who want to use it’.

He stressed the unique relationship between GPs and their registered patient list should remain the cornerstone of the NHS, and that use of digital technology would ‘strengthen that bond – it reduces the distance between the patient and the practice’.

Professor Newton insisted this should not increase the demand placed on general practice.

He said: ‘Obviously it has the potential to increase [healthcare] use, but if you buy into this model of a responsible concordat based on registration it shouldn’t do that.

'The duty on patients to use the NHS responsibly is much more apparent at the general practice level, whereas it is more difficult to develop that relationship with a faceless secondary care service’.

Readers' comments (22)

  • as above- Why pay £60 an hour for someone to dole out sick notes citalopram and amoxicillin?------------ Please answer why MDU charges £10000 (Ten thousand pounds) per year for sick notes/ citalopram/ amoxicillin. Surely risk is not of 10K just for doing above.
    Further how £60 per hour will pay £10k yearly MDU fees? How many hours will you have to work just to pay MDU fees?

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  • What about underfunded Practices that did not have the money to employ GPs or even to advertise for part time? Find it strange people claiming that they can't find GPs - they would have if they only offered decent conditions. We had 4 Nurses lined up for interview after one ad as we offered a better/ let's say a decent rate. Unfortunately, we don't have enough to recruit a full time GP, if we had the funds, we wouldn't even have to advertise as our locums are happy to join as full time.

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  • Currently in "North Americas best ski town" $15000 expenses and $15000 signing bonus. I have to pay it back if I leave within a year.
    Indemnity about 150 quid a month for as little or as much work as you want to do. NHS recruitment has a lot to learn.

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  • 3:18 AM: Skiing town? Brrr already feel the cold in my bones. Offer is fine but get some sleep doc, this is for the ski lovers and not to the fancy of half the gps in this country who come from warm climates.

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  • It's not 318 am in BC :)
    Could try Oz? I guess I was pointing out that others will actually pay a recruitment bonus rather than costs. They call it "talent acquisition", I feel flattered.

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  • This comment has been removed by the moderator.

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  • So this is what where all this extra money going to primary care is being used for.
    Great.
    We are all saved

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  • I'd hate to be his wife.

    'Darling, I thought we'd try and reignite the romance and get to know each other more, so I've installed facebook messenger on your phone so we can stay in touch. I'm moving 30 miles away to where the nearest A&E which hasn't been closed is, but you can check the FAQ if you have any concerns about being married. And just to make sure our marriage keeps its edge, I thought some healthy competition was in order, so I've put Tinder on there too, oh no, that's just on mine. Oh, by the way, I've cut your allowance in half, as I thought you could be more efficient, and you'll have an inspection next week and an insurance hike. See you online.'

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  • The patients who need the most help are not of the iPhone generation . It will simply pander to the worried well who will want an app for every ill. Crapp app for constipation , Happ app for depression and slapp app for domestic violence. Clapp app for attention seeking behaviour, napp app for insomnia, best of luck.

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  • Cat flapp app for proctology

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