Plans to move some NHS services online criticised by charities representing patients with long-term illnesses
Monday 26 November 2012
Plans to move NHS services online to help free up clinics, including the use of Skype video calls for consultations with GPs, have been criticised by charities representing patients with long-term illnesses.
Health Minister Dan Poulter said last week that moving services online would save the NHS £3bn and improve care for less mobile patients.
He added that the plans would “make life easier for patients” and support “people with long-term health conditions like diabetes, dementia and heart disease to be better looked after and supported in their own homes and communities.”
But Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation said that while he was pleased to see the NHS using technology to improve services, the plans were “unlikely to benefit the significant number of heart patients who are elderly or from deprived parts of the community and may not have access to the internet."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt pushed for a move towards more online services in an NHS mandate earlier this month. He wants all patients to be able to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and talk to their GP practice on the internet by 2015.
Under the proposals set out in a Department of Heath report called Digital First, doctors would be able to access patients’ records via smartphone, and nurses would be given iPads.
The Government hopes cutting down on unnecessary face-to-face appointments will free up staff and help fill a £20bn funding gap.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, a group which lobbies for improvement in patient care, said, “The telehealth agenda must be driven by a desire to improve clinical outcomes and patient care, not the Government’s plans to save £20billion.”
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the elderly would “lose out” as they are less likely to have access to the internet.
Michelle Mitchell, director general at Age UK, said, “Many people of all ages still prefer human contact. It gives the medical professional the chance to recognise health issues that may not be obvious from a distance.”
The Department of Health insists that a move online would not result in an end to face-to-face contact with GPs. Dr Poulter said the Government “recognises that not everyone, particularly frail older people, will have easy access to the internet.”
He added that allowing people to access the NHS online would “help put an end to things like the 8am rush to phone your GP to try and book a medical appointment.”
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Mother of newborn Baby No 59 trapped in sewer pipe told Chinese police she 'heard crying' when she raised alarm
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
AirAsia QZ8501: Black box reveals warning alarms 'screamed' before crash, as more bodies recovered from near fuselage of jet
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
David Cameron says anyone criticising Eric Pickles' letter to Muslims 'really has a problem'
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...
£25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: PHP Web...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in London, Manchester, Br...