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Our scheme’s not ‘flagging’

I was disappointed to read your recent article portraying a misleading account of Gloucestershire's telehealth scheme (‘GPs paid £70 a patient to boost flagging telehealth scheme').

Far from ‘flagging', this is the most successful and largest GP programme in the UK, with 88% of GP practices – 74 out of 85 so far – actively referring patients. The rollout plan is designed to bring the number of patients in the county being supported by telehealth to 2,200. GP training has been largely completed and the programme established within practices. With growing buy-in from GPs and increasing referral rates, we are on course to achieve real quality improvement and to have at least covered our costs by March 2013.

The standard LES payment of £70 for each patient referral was designed to free up initial clinical time to focus on appropriate referrals, and was supported by both clinicians and local commissioners.

Like other LESs, it supports the infrastructure for new clinical pathways and demonstrates good use of our existing mechanisms to improve patient care.


From Dr Will Haynes, Gloucester