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Health Health

Support GPs to deliver innovative services that better meet patients’ needs

Last updated: 01:42pm 7 June 2019

We will support GPs to deliver innovative services that better meet patients’ needs, including phone and on-line consultations and the use of technology to triage people better so they see the right clinician more quickly.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.67

Our verdict

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, “in 2018, 90% of adults in the UK were recent internet users”. With so many people now conducting day-to-day activities online, this policy is a proposal to support GPs in using technology to deliver more efficient and effective care to their patients.

In May and June 2018, NHS England asked for people’s views on “online consultations” which enable “patients to contact their GP practice without having to wait on the phone or take time out to come into the practice”.

Following that, some GP practices have already begun offering online consultations to their patients. The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019 says:

“Some GPs are now offering their patients the choice of quick telephone or online consultations, saving time waiting and travelling. Over the next five years every patient in England will have a new right to choose this option…”

And alongside online consultations:

“The NHS App and its browser-based equivalent will enable people to follow a simple triage online to help them manage their own health needs or direct them to the appropriate service.”

Regarding digital GP models more generally, the Long Term Plan outlines a three-pronged approach to their development:

  • create a new framework for digital suppliers to offer their platforms
  • ensure that new ‘digital first’ practices are safe and create benefit to the whole NHS
  • review GP regulation and terms and conditions

The roll-out of online GP consultations and the online triage available via the NHS App, in tandem with the Long Term Plan’s strategy for growing the digital GP model, means we see this manifesto pledge as ‘done’.

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There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.