NHS ‘should use Skype to help cut ‘unnecessary hospital appointments’, says top doctor  – The HabariTimes Online
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NHS ‘should use Skype to help cut ‘unnecessary hospital appointments’, says top doctor 

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NHS ‘should use Skype to help cut ‘unnecessary hospital appointments’, says top doctor 

Thousands of hospital appointments each day are unnecessary and should be scrapped or replaced with virtual health assessments on Skype or apps, England’s top doctor has said.

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, claimed the current outpatient system is unfit for purpose.

A Royal College of Physicians report estimates that a fifth of face-to-face consultations are not necessary.

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, claimed the current outpatient system is unfit for purpose

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, claimed the current outpatient system is unfit for purpose

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, claimed the current outpatient system is unfit for purpose

It says health chiefs should embrace Skype, apps and online tools, claiming thousands of patients will be spared hospital visits and time off work or school – while saving the NHS millions.

Writing a foreword to the report, Professor Powis claimed it was time to ‘grasp the nettle’ and reduce some of the 118million outpatient appointments at NHS hospitals in England every year. 

He said: ‘It’s right we look at ways to cut unnecessary appointments, save thousands of journeys, reduce traffic and pollution and make the NHS more efficient. 

A Royal College of Physicians report says health chiefs should embrace Skype, apps and online tools, claiming thousands of patients will be spared hospital visits and time off work or school – while saving the NHS millions

A Royal College of Physicians report says health chiefs should embrace Skype, apps and online tools, claiming thousands of patients will be spared hospital visits and time off work or school – while saving the NHS millions

A Royal College of Physicians report says health chiefs should embrace Skype, apps and online tools, claiming thousands of patients will be spared hospital visits and time off work or school – while saving the NHS millions

‘For many people, care can be delivered more timely and conveniently closer to home, by specialists at the GP surgery or by using technology in new and exciting ways.’

The report says the number of outpatient appointments in England has doubled over the last decade. They now account for 85 per cent of all hospital activity outside A&E, costing around £200 a time. 

A total of 5 per cent of UK traffic each day is NHS-related. Official figures show one in five appointments are either cancelled by hospitals or not attended by the patient.

However, patient groups fear scrapping appointments could lead to serious medical problems being missed. 

Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said: ‘The majority of over-75s are not online so for them getting hospital doctors out to run sessions in GP surgeries is a much better bet than Skype or FaceTime.’

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