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Patients Could be Able to Skype with their GP under New Proposals

Under new proposals announced by Prime Minister David Cameron, patients will be able to see GPs seven days a week in and out of office hours - with the introduction of email, Skype and phone consultations.

 

Other services to be introduced from 2014-15 include electronic prescriptions, online appointment bookings and online registrations.

To enable this to happen, GP practices can apply to a £50m Challenge Fund to set up a "pioneering" programme, the government said. There will be a "pioneer" in every region of the country - nine in total - covering up to half a million patients.

The Prime Minister said that Whitehall wants to support GPs to "modernise their services" so they can see patients from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

"Millions of people find it hard to get an appointment to see their GP at a time that fits in with their work and family life," he said.

"We want greater flexibility, so people can speak to their family doctor on the phone, send them an email or even speak to them on Skype," he added.

The approach to extended hours is being piloted in six GP practices in Manchester, where GPs are working together to help cut down needless A&E visits.

The health secretary Jeremy Hunt said that "cutting-edge GP practices in Manchester are leading the way" and that the government wants "many more patients across the country to benefit".

The £50m fund will be run as a competition and is open to applications from all practices. Further details are set to be released in December, but the aim is for the first practice to launch the services from April 2014.

 

Source: Computing

 

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