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UK: END OF THE DOCTOR’S SURGERY

Home - by - November 25, 2012 - 19:00 America/New_York - 13 Comments

Express

A BID to save nearly £3billion by slashing appointments with a doctor and treating patients via computer will put lives at risk, ministers were warned.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is planning a technological revolution that could spell the end of the traditional doctor’s surgery.

A new system of “virtual clinics” is being planned in which GPs connect with patients via iPads and Skype, an idea that NHS bosses are importing from India.

The reforms would save £2.9billion “almost immediately” and improve the lives of most patients, for example by avoiding the need to find child care during appointments, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said last week.

However, critics are concerned the initiative would create a two-tier NHS in which the less technologically able, particularly the elderly, would be left behind.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham called the plan “dangerous”, while Age UK said cutting the number of personal appointments would erode the vital trust between doctor and patient.

The ideas, contained in a Health Department report called Digital First, include arming community nurses with iPads in rural areas and making more use of Skype video calling between GPs and patients. There will be more online assessments “augmented” with video calls.

Mobile phone “apps” will be used to access lab reports and health records and negative test results will be sent by text messages rather than delivered in person. Mr Hunt, who made a fortune by creating an internet company, believes that while mobile broadband technology is revolutionising most walks of life, there is a problem once ­people encounter the relatively antiquated systems of the NHS.

The Government is trying to fill a £20billion NHS funding gap and health chiefs want to reduce “needless” appointments that clog up staff time.

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» 13 Comments

  1. Unruly Refugee

    November 25th, 2012

    WebMD is free. That’s where doctors get their information when they leave the room clueless and then return with all kinds of information.

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  2. Nutjob

    November 25th, 2012

    This will soon be Obamacare.
    Then after a while to cut cost, they’ll use medical students, then nurses, all outsourced and probably awarded a gubment Obamacare contract based on campaign donations.

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  3. Edith McCrotch

    November 25th, 2012

    Prostate exam ?

    Yeah….we have an app for that.

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  4. MN Patriot

    November 25th, 2012

    @Edith McCrotch, I see a whole new line of web cams in the near future.

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  5. MN Patriot

    November 25th, 2012

    There will be a whole new data base of genitalia pics for hackers to steal.
    An iphone in every crotch.

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  6. MN Patriot

    November 25th, 2012

    Apple stocks will skyrocket because everyone will need two iphones, one for talking and the other for, ew.

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  7. MN Patriot

    November 25th, 2012

    ipap smear.

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  8. scr_north

    November 25th, 2012

    Actually not necessarily a bad idea. For all of us that have waited an hour or two past our appointment time only to have the doctor take our blood pressure, listen to our heart, ask a couple of questions then fill out a script could have done all of that over the web with current tech. Making the process more efficient is what capitalists do. I’m concerned though that some government agency will run with it, fuck it up and in the end make it more costly and buggered up thus setting back a good idea years.

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  9. Unruly Refugee

    November 25th, 2012

    You can bet 0bama wouldn’t try it if it would actually save billions of dollars. That would be counterproductive to crashing the economy as outlined in the 0bama Communist Economic Chaos plan.

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  10. Cynic

    November 25th, 2012

    @Edith: The prostate exam has been web based for several years. Just Google “goatse” and you’ll see for yourself.

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  11. Edith McCrotch

    November 25th, 2012

    @ Cynic…

    The last time I googled that it took me 5 years to remove that image from my mind.

    never again.

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  12. "That Guy"

    November 25th, 2012

    I guess that nobody bothered to point out to them that India does it as a necessity because a large percentage of their population lives in small mountain villages, accessible only by roads like those seen on TV in IRT: Deadliest Roads…

    Before technology made this sort of “doctors visit” possible, people in such villages had to either make go to the nearest hospital, possibly hundreds of miles away, over rough mountain roads, or wait for a doctor to make his regular rounds to the village.

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  13. [...] it becomes a matter of trying to cut costs to comply with government budgets.  The British NHS provides a running example of what we will become in time. To wit: A BID to save nearly £3billion by slashing appointments [...]

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