The ‘virtual’ doctor will see you now

Patients may soon be able to have a web chat with their GP SUS-180713-102659001
Patients may soon be able to have a web chat with their GP SUS-180713-102659001

People who want to see a doctor may soon be able to have a web chat with their GP instead of a face-to-face meeting.

It is one of a number of radical ideas currently being considered by health chiefs. Members of the Horsham, Mid Sussex and Crawley Clinical Commissioning Groups - responsible for paying for local health services - say they are now seeking the public’s views on the proposals.

Said a spokesman: “We are looking to create a new service for patients to access their GP practice. We want the service to be created based on the feedback from our patients. We will be engaging with our patients, public and GP practices to gauge the appetite for an online service that allows patients to contact their GP practice digitally as an alternative to the usual methods.

“This service would allow patients to provide their symptoms digitally to their GP practice who would forward the information to the appropriate healthcare professional - GP, nurse, or alternative healthcare professional - who in turn would respond to the patient directly via an internet platform, email, web chat etc.

“It is also possible that the patient may be redirected to another service i.e. pharmacy/urgent care centre or self-care depending on the individual case.

“This service will not replace telephone bookings or face to face appointments with GPs. It is designed to be another way to access primary care which will potentially be more convenient for digitally engaged patients.”

See CESCA.onlineconsultation@nhs.net