Millions of patients benefiting from remote consultations as family doctors respond to COVID-19

Millions of patients have been getting expert support from family doctors from the comfort of their own homes while the NHS responds to COVID-19.

Remote consultations are one way in which GP practices have changed the way they work to ensure people can get expert care and advice in a safe way throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

With GPs and their teams standing ready to assist, one of the country’s top GPs has urged people to continue to come forward for care when they need it, as part of the NHS’ ongoing Help Us Help You campaign.

Raj Patel deputy medical director of primary care at NHS England and practicing GP said: “Even during these unprecedented times, if people need help from a family doctor they are able to get it. Our GPs are quickly adapting to new technology – including phone and video consultations – to continue providing care in a different way.

“Not only do remote appointments allow patients to consult their GP from the comfort of their own home, it helps protect staff and patients by limiting exposure to infection.

“If you are unwell, the NHS is here for you and practice staff are working hard to ensure that everyone gets the care they need, whether that is face to face or virtually.”

Many GP appointments can be done remotely, and as well as being safer during the Covid-19 pandemic this option is more convenient for many patients, but there are of course still times when it is necessary to see patients.

Health leaders had already signaled the intention to move towards digital first primary care in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Progress towards this has accelerated during the pandemic, with 99% of GP practices now activating remote consultation platforms, and NHS bosses are now examining how this progress can be locked in.