NHS England is conducting a review of the ‘impact’ of GP remote consultations, a health minister has said.
It comes as the chief medical officer last week urged patients to visit their GP in a live briefing.
Responding to a written parliamentary question last month, primary care minister Jo Churchill said NHS England is also working with patients to monitor ‘digital access’.
Labour MP Dan Jarvis asked what recent assessment the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has made of the effect of remote and telephone GP appointments on ‘patient wellbeing’.
Ms Churchill said: ‘NHS England and Improvement are currently carrying out an evaluation of online and video consultations in general practice to understand their impact.
‘They are also working collaboratively with patients and a number of research organisations who are conducting studies on digital access.’
The findings will be used to work with suppliers to ‘improve the design and accessibility of digital systems to better meet patient needs’, she added.
In response to another question by Mr Jarvis on the ‘potential merits’ of more face-to-face GP services returning, Ms Churchill said the review is an opportunity to ensure innovations can be adapted into a ‘sustainable model’ for the future.
She said: ‘This evaluation and other research work into the significant innovations in how GP practices offer care is an opportunity for the Government, NHS England and Improvement and professional representatives to ensure innovations can be adapted into a sustainable model into the future, to better meets patient needs and provide the best quality of care and ease of access for patients.’
Earlier this summer, health secretary Matt Hancock suggested all GP consultations could be done remotely in the future.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government announced plans last month to make GP consultations via video the ‘default option’.
NHS England recently said a joint campaign with Public Health England will launch this month ‘to encourage the public to seek help when necessary’.