Digital GP service ‘risks luring doctors from frontline practice’

GP leaders have raised concerns about the first NHS smartphone virtual GP service. The service will allow millions of NHS patients who live or work in various locations in London to sign up to be offered a GP consultation via a smartphone 24 hours a day.

But the Royal College of GPs said that while the scheme might be seen as a golden ticket for some patients, others are not eligible for it.

The GP at Hand service, created by Babylon Health, offers a booking system through a smartphone app, with the promise of a video consultation within two hours of booking. For a face-to-face appointment, patients must travel to a clinic in central London.

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, commenting on the launch of the project, said: “Technology can achieve wonderful things when used properly, but we are really worried that schemes like this are creating a twin-track approach to NHS general practice and that patients are being ‘cherry-picked’, which could actually increase the pressures on traditional GPs based in the community.

The Guardian: 6 November 2017

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