Online GP consultations 'to become widespread'

GPs will be forced to offer online consultations under DH plans to 'significantly increase' the use of technology in the NHS.

Internet: DH wants online consultations to become 'widespread'

The government expects the NHS to provide more internet and technology-based services to help people manage their health and care.

Under plans from the DH, the option of e-consultations will become 'much more widely available' for patients.

By March 2015, patients must also be allowed to view medical records, book appointments and order repeat prescriptions over the internet. They should also be able to talk with their GP practice via email.

The NHS must also ensure GP patient records are transferable between different NHS providers. Greater use of telehealth and telecare will be prompted to three million people, as set out last year.

The move is one of a raft of technology-based changes to NHS and GP services under a new set of standards for the NHS called the 'NHS Mandate', launched by health secretary Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday.

The mandate sets out how the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) should prioritise care and the outcomes it should pursue, such as improving dementia care and early diagnosis of cancer.

The NHSCB will use the 'ambitions' set out in the NHS Mandate and the NHS Outcomes Framework to performance manage clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

The mandate states: 'In a digital age, it is crucial that the NHS not only operates at the limits of medical science, but also increasingly at the forefront of new technologies.

'In particular, the government expects that by March 2015 ... everyone will be able to have secure electronic communication with their GP practice, with the option of e-consultations becoming much more widely available.'

NHS performance will also be exposed to far greater scrutiny in what the DH calls a 'revolution in transparency'. The health service will be required to publish outcomes data online for all major services by 2015 'to drive standards of care', according to the DH.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who unveiled the NHS Mandate on Tuesday, revealed the NHSCB will be handed a budget of £95bn for 2013/14.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published


NICE moves CVD advice closer to QOF and updates treatment escalation options

NICE draft guidance on cardiovascular disease backs a new target for lipid levels...

GP surgery sign

GP alert system shows practices under major pressure

General practice has moved up to an 'OPEL 3' pressure rating nationally with two...

Podcast: How making your practice a better place to work can improve patient care

Sheffield GP Dr Ben Allen explains how focusing on staff and improving his practice's...

X-ray sign

Spike in TB cases prompts public health warning

Cases of TB in England have risen by 7% compared with last year, prompting a warning...

COVID-19 vaccine

GPs demand investigation as winter vaccine 'mismanagement' risks patient safety

GP leaders in England have demanded an investigation into 'mismanagement' of this...

Medical centre sign

GP 'engineering' fears as small practice contracts offered on branch-only basis

GP leaders have raised concerns over the 'engineering' of general practice after...