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GPs fear new NHS App will drive additional workload

Most GPs are concerned that the new NHS App, due for release at the end of the year, will increase their workload rather than reduce it.

A survey of over 1,000 GPs, carried out by ComRes, found that 61% of GPs are expecting an increase in the number of patients requesting face-to-face appointments when the app is launched.

The survey, commissioned by digital health service provider Doctorlink, further found that 60% of GPs believe the positive impact of digital services on the NHS is exaggerated.

It also found that:

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  • A vast majority of GPs (83%) are not confident in the NHS’s ability to implement new digital services;
  • Only 14% of GPs believe the NHS App will be ready for its rollout date of December 2018;
  • Doctors are split over the question of whether digital services are important in improving the quality of primary care, with 52% saying it is important and 40% thinking that it isn’t.
  • 94% say clinician involvement is important to the development of digital services to support the delivery of primary care.

Doctorlink chief executive Andrew Gardner said: ‘It’s clear that the views of GPs haven’t always been properly considered when it comes to the integration of digital services into the NHS.’

Dr Bruce Websdale, a GP in south west London said: ‘Most GPs believe that these services will improve the quality of primary care offered by the NHS, but many of us have important questions when it comes to their implementation. 

‘These findings reinforce the importance of close collaboration between the people developing these services and the people using them on the frontline of the NHS.’

The Government has said patients will book GP appointments via the NHS App by the end of this year, while NHS Digital is hoping it will support GP video consultations with patients from 2019.

The news comes as researchers have warned that alternatives to face-to-face GP appointments are being implemented without a clear rationale, and as the BMA has warned GP practices could ‘go under’ if inundated with e-consultations.