Remote consultations and online triage likely to play important role in supporting NHS under pressure
A survey of almost 2000 UK doctors carried out by the British Medical Association (closed 9 July) has revealed that 30% of doctors had seen patients with symptoms that they believe are a longer-term effect of having had Covid-19.
BMA's latest Covid-19 tracker also revealed that 15% of doctors were not at all confident of their ability to manage patient demand if there is a second peak of the virus.
Meanwhile, a third of NHS GPs believe it will take longer than three months to a year, or longer, for their practice to return to pre-pandemic capacity levels. Of those who said it will take longer than a year to return to pre-pandemic (or never), almost two thirds said this is because social distancing can't be achieved at full capacity. "This means NHS GP surgeries are going to have to look at alternative solutions, such as remote consultations, online triage and multi-disciplinary teams, to help support patient needs," said Laura Wolks, head of marketing at Medical Solutions.
A recent report from AXA PPP suggested that businesses could save £1.5bn through increased efficiencies as a result of implementing remote GP services for their employees. "These services also help relieve the burden on the NHS by providing early intervention and support as access to healthcare becomes more challenging," added Wolks.
"It's clear that remote GP services will play an increasingly important role for both the NHS and employers to support the growing demand for healthcare as a consequence of Covid-19."