Govern­ment tar­get missed for on­line GP ser­vices.

Pa­tients un­able to book a slot with doc­tor on in­ter­net

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - Front Page - MSP MILES BRIGGS GARETH mcpher­son PO­LIT­I­CAL REPORTER

GP surg­eries across Scot­land are fail­ing to hit a govern­ment tar­get for pa­tients ac­cess­ing ser­vices on­line.

Only a quar­ter of prac­tices in Tay­side al­low ap­point­ments to be booked on the in­ter­net, which is one of the low­est in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures com­piled by a think-tank. Re­form Scot­land said “too few” pa­tients are given the op­por­tu­nity to use the in­ter­net for things such as or­der­ing re­peat pre­scrip­tions.

Miles Briggs, for the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives, said the web of­fers “great po­ten­tial to save time and re­sources in our un­der-pres­sure GP surg­eries” and called on the SNP to do more.

While only 25% of Tay­side surg­eries per­mit book­ing on­line, 91% al­lowed re­peat or­ders of pre­scrip­tions, ac­cord­ing to data ob­tained from health boards. In Fife, 72% of prac­tices of­fered on­line ser­vices in those cat­e­gories. The Scot­tish Govern­ment has de­manded 90% of surg­eries do so by the end of the year.

But one Dundee GP has warned that on­line book­ings are “not al­ways a good thing”. Dr An­drew Cowie, who is chair­man of the area clin­i­cal fo­rum in Tay­side, said an on­line sys­tem does not al­low staff to as­sess which pa­tients need to be seen ahead of oth­ers.

“It means that peo­ple can book up large num­bers of ap­point­ments that aren’t nec­es­sary and then there are fewer left for more im­por­tant prob­lems,” he added.

Dr Miles Mack, from the Royal Col­lege of GPs in Scot­land, said the pro­fes­sion is “keen to em­brace new tech­nolo­gies” but added on­line ser­vices “may not nec­es­sar­ily be the pri­or­ity for prac­tices op­er­at­ing un­der strain”.

A spokes­woman for the Scot­tish Govern­ment said they are spend­ing an ex­tra £500m a year by 2021/22 to “trans­form pri­mary care”.

“That trans­for­ma­tion will be sup­ported by the lat­est tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing of­fer­ing more ser­vices on­line.”

The yeb of­fers great po­ten­tial to save time and re­sources in our under­pres­sure GP surg­eries.

A doc­tor takes a woman’s blood pres­sure dur­ing a check-up.

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