GPs begin ‘virtual appointment’ strategy

The Welsh government believes that allowing patients to have consultations by email or video conference will reduce costs and delays.

It also said that NHS staff would benefit from the introduction of smartphones and tablets, which they could use to access data and care records swiftly. However, it would be up to individual health boards to fund this.

Under the five year plan, patients will be able to order prescriptions, book appointments, and access health records and test results online. The Welsh government maintains that the move will give patients a more active role in managing their health.

Patients will also be encouraged to use smartphone apps to monitor health conditions such as asthma and diabetes.

Dr Ruth Hussey, chief medical officer for Wales, said: “Digital technology can provide information for patients in accessible ways, help to ensure effective monitoring of treatment, and make services easier to use. The strategy sets out a clear ambition to improve the use of technology and data.”

Mark Drakeford, Health Minister, said: “Our vision is for more interactive, personalised health and social services, allowing people to access services from wherever and whenever it’s convenient to them.

“Frontline staff who work in our health and care services must also have access to the very latest digital technology, which allows them to deliver services in new, innovative ways, that put the needs of patients first.”

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