A contract notice is due out in November to attract tenders for a software supplier, GP leaders have warned TechMonitor.
A public information notice in late September advised that a contract notice will come out on 16 November for online consultations. A contract notice let buyers across the NHS place orders with a supplier or suppliers without a full tendering process.
Back in August, the new GP contract (2020/21-2023/24) advised: “Digital delivery can offer flexible working for GPs, and contribute to securing the additional 6,000 doctors working in general practice… Six thousand extra staff are funded by the Government through additional investment for NHS England and NHS improvement of £150m/£300m/£300mil/£300m between 2021 and 2024.”
While virtual consultations will be better than not seeing a GP at all, Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, warns that patients may pay the price. “It’s not without its complications,” he told TechMonitor.
“If you’re remote or don’t have that infrastructure, or you live in a flat, or there’s noise around, or you’ve got a crap computer…
“Patients might be able to send you a high-quality image of their rash. But if they’ve got stomach pain or a discharge or whatever, they’re not feeling very well, [the technology] is very, very limiting to what you can do in order to help them.”
“Remote consulting certainly has a place, and GP locums can be well placed to deliver these appointments, but it should not be used whenever a face-to-face appointment would lead to a better outcome for the patient.”