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A survey conducted by GPOnline of more than 500 GPs has predicted that over half of patient appointments will be dealt with remotely once the pandemic subsides and GP Practices return to the ‘new normal’.
When asked what proportion of patients should be seen remotely in future - by phone, video, or online - 302 of the 439 GPs responding to the question said 50% or more. During the Height of the Pandemic over 70% of patient consultations were performed remotely.
With the results of this survey being pretty conclusive, McGinley Healthcare Senior Recruitment Consultant, Phil Dormer, asks do GP surgeries run the risk of isolating certain patient groups as online consultations become the new normal?
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic GPs, Practice Managers and Partners had raised their concerns regarding video and telephone appointments. In particular, they questioned the confidentiality, quality, and suitability of remote consultations but the rapid transformation of services under pandemic conditions has dramatically changed perceptions.
GPs now believe that remote consulting will free up time for longer face-to-face consultations in the surgery and allows GPs to routinely work from home. RCGP Chair Professor Martin Marshall said the profession had 'swiftly and drastically' changed the way it worked during the pandemic. Commenting to GPOnline, he said: 'It has been a remarkable transition driven by necessity, yet its smoothness and effectiveness in allowing us to continue delivering safe patient care and has taken many GPs by surprise.’
'Moving forward, it’s important that general practice doesn’t lose some of the technological advances it has made in such a short time. However, we know that many patients will still prefer face to face appointments – and many GPs will do, as well, particularly for patients with complex conditions who really benefit from the continuity of care that GPs can provide.’
How do you feel about video appointments? Do you think they affect the quality of the consultation? Let us know your thoughts.