Extra cash to help GP practices get online
NHS HIGHLAND says additional government funding has been allocated to help it meet the national target of having 90 per cent of its GP practices offering online appointment booking and repeat prescriptions by the end of this year.
The health authority's comments come after a new report from the Reform Scotland think tank flagged it up as being one of Scotland's poorer performing health board areas when it comes to the 90 per cent target.
Currently only 28 of NHS Highland’s 98 GP practices offers online appointment bookings and/or repeat prescribing.
Reform Scotland also revealed that only four Scottish health boards were on course to make the changes.
The Scottish government has said it is investing money in primary care to support the introduction of the latest technology.
Most GP surgeries are private sector contractors and as such are free to decide for themselves whether to offer online services.
Quizzed this week on the situation, NHS Highland said both it and NHS Scotland have recognised additional investment is needed so that the 90 per cent target by the end of 2017 can be achieved.
‘To help meet this target, additional funding has been provided by NHS Scotland and this funding has allowed NHS Highland to offer these services to another 42 practices,’ an NHS Highland spokesperson said.
‘The additional 42 practices have yet to go live as there is a requirement to upgrade the version of the GP clinical practice system.
‘This work is being co- ordinated at a national level and when complete will allow the 42 practices to switch on their online services.’
The Scottish government has said it is committed to investing an extra £ 500m a year by 2021/22 to transform primary care and that this will include offering more services online.