What Could Skype Calls Mean For GP Services?

Could Skype be the future of GP services? That’s what patients could soon expect if new ways of working, championed by new Health Minister Matt Hancock, come into play. With the pressure on for the NHS to move forward with the times, we could soon expect to see more innovative ways of accessing healthcare. GP Skype calls could just be the beginning of a more modern healthcare service.

It is hoped that GP Skype calls could cut waiting times, help patients to fit appointments around their work and personal lives while also cutting down on missed appointments and waiting times.

What are GP Skype calls?

Residents in London have been able to take advantage of “GP at Hand”, a service which allows patients to consult with a GP via video, use a chatbot to check symptoms and make an appointment with a doctor if necessary. The service has been advocated by Matt Hancock, who believes the ‘postcode lottery’ needs to stop to allow the service to be rolled out to the rest of England.

Many argue GP at Hand is revolutionary and works brilliantly for many patients, going against the grain of how people have traditionally accessed healthcare services. This is why Matt Hancock is so keen for everyone to be able to access it – not just those living in London.

What is causing the delay in rolling it out?

While people in London have been enjoying the benefits of GP Skype calls and other services, plans to roll them out elsewhere have been slow. Babylon, a private firm that operates the service, has had plans to roll out the service in Birmingham, but this was rejected by NHS clinical commissioning groups over fears that invitations to screening programmes such as breast cancer and bowel cancer, wouldn’t be sent.

The service has also been met with some concern by GPs, believing it could favour younger patients, with less funding available to those who need greater care.

The future of healthcare in the UK?

GP Skype calls could be one way to revolutionise healthcare in the UK. The Health Secretary has previously spoken about the need to make use of technology in healthcare, and has pledged £487 million to transform technology in the NHS.

Models like “GP at Hand” allow patients to take greater control over their health through facilitating appointments on the move, video consultations and access to healthcare advice for non-urgent conditions. Meanwhile, going paperless could reduce errors, particularly when it comes to prescriptions.

Hancock is a big advocate of the NHS, and in his recent speech at NHS Expo 2018, he outlined plans to guarantee its future. Understanding the frustrations and the challenges currently surrounding technology in the NHS, it’s hoped that further investment could turn things around. Having joined-up, single systems could make a big difference to the way healthcare services are offered, ensuring doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other professionals have access to patient data through a single system.

The right technology could provide significant differences in the way services like out of hours surgeries work, allowing much easier access to patient information to provide a more effective out of hours service. If you’re interested in finding out more about our out of hours jobs, click here for the latest vacancies.