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EMIS to offer free video consultations to 4,000 practices to fight coronavirus

Around 4,000 GP practices will be able to offer free consultations to patients in a bid to help tackle the (Covid-19) pandemic.

It comes as health secretary Matt Hancock said all primary care consultations should be carried out remotely, unless there are clinical or practical reasons not to.

EMIS Health announced today that Video Consult will be made available to practices at ‘no cost’ from today for the next 12 weeks. 

Practices who have already bought the service will be offered an extra three months as part of their contract, EMIS Health said. 

The IT supplier said the move aims to reduce the number of visits to surgeries and prevent the risk of practice closure.

Dr Shaun O’Hanlon, former GP and chief medical officer at EMIS Group, said: ‘This a major initiative that will provide practical support for thousands of GPs – caring for around 35 million patients – during this escalating situation.

‘While some practices are already using video consultations, most are not. By rolling out the software across our whole EMIS Web user base, we are making the technology available to any practice that wishes to use it. There are very clear benefits for GPs, practice staff and patients.’

A slew of practices in England have been forced to temporarily close since February due to fears over the spread of Covid-19.

The BMA announced today that it has cancelled all face-to-face meetings involving 20 people or more in light of Covid-19 pandemic, to allow doctors to help on the frontline

And Derby and Derbyshire LMC said that ‘it is likely’ that routine GP appointments will be put on hold ‘whilst surgeries concentrate on urgent care for the most unwell’.