Commenting on remote consultations, Graham Kendall, director of the Digital Healthcare Council said:
“In April this year, general practice in England delivered 1.25million appointments each working day – the highest number of April appointments on record. Over 60% of these were face-to-face appointments with the bulk of the rest carried out remotely. Remote consultations take many forms including telephone or video appointments or online forms-based consultations where a response from a doctor may follow.
“Remote consultations give patients easy access to prompt high-quality medical advice, and evidence shows that when patients have a genuine choice, most choose a remote option. This means they can avoid unnecessary travel, time off work, childcare and having to sit around in waiting rooms. It also frees up GP capacity for those who want and need face-to-face appointments.
“Remote consultations also allow staff to deliver a more responsive and efficient service. As the proportion of remote consultations has risen over the past few years, waiting times for GP appointments have generally shortened, but, as the proportion of face-to-face appointments has risen in recent months, so waiting times have lengthened.
“For those who choose care other than NHS General Practice, we’ve also seen a rise in services offered by online pharmacies and GP services offered privately through remote options.”
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