‘The Doctor will Video-call You Now.’
One of the most disagreeable aspects to the NHS and its convoluted involvement with politicians is the way almost all of them, regardless of party, continually announce how in love they are with it and how they and they alone are the friends of the NHS.
Whether it is a Conservative or Labour government, both throw huge amounts of taxpayers cash at it and make grandiose announcements regarding their wonderful stewardship of it. In the meantime, patients continue to receive poorer treatment. They do so because, as our columnist Kevan James eloquently argues in his book, Comments of a Common Man, the NHS is awash with bureaucrats and managers and not enough doctors and nurses. It is that shortage of front-line staff that has led to the latest money-saving wheeze, that of seeing a GP online, via a computer, rather than in person.
This is, in our view, a very bad idea.
The impersonal nature of consultation in any way other than face-to-face is dangerous and will result in patient symptoms being missed. That aside, what if somebody does not have internet access? There are many people who do not and they are not confined to the more mature members of society, as the number of users, of all ages, in local libraries indicates.
Is somebody really suggesting that those without internet access discuss their medical problems in a public library?
The personal visit and the ability to actually speak to a Doctor is one of the most important foundations of the NHS and it must never be forsaken.