Wigan patients offered remote GP appointments

A digital health company aims to tackle doctor waiting times by providing remote GP appointments.

Rather than go to their local surgery, borough patients can now arrange to visit a pharmacy to access healthcare remotely.

Doctors can listen to a patient’s heart and lungs, look into their ears and throat, and take their vitals including blood pressure, oxygen levels and body temperature – all without needing to be in the same room.

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Equipment used in the examination is operated by the patient, though a trained pharmacist is available for those who need help.

Digital health company Medicspot is providing the new service after it was revealed that 17 per cent of people in the borough wait more than two weeks to be seen by a GP.

Recent NHS figures suggest 75 per cent of people were not offered a choice of time or date for their appointment, while seven in 10 did not get a same-day appointment with a GP.

One-quarter of people found it difficult to get through to their practice by phone.

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Dr Zubair Ahmed, co-founder of Medicspot, said: “In light of these figures, we hope our service will offer a convenient alternative for people in Wigan and help ease some of the pressures the NHS is facing.

“Longer wait times lead to more strain on an already struggling NHS.

“When patients are forced to wait weeks to see a GP, they often end up waiting for hours at A&E.”

Medicspot already provides the remote appointments at Davina Pharmacy in Tyldesley, with plans to introduce them at more pharmacies across Wigan early next year.

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The firm says a national survey of people who used the service revealed 40 per cent would have gone to A&E otherwise, saving £1.2m for the NHS. It comes as A&E waiting times nationally hit the worst level on record.

Dr Tim Dalton, a GP and chairman of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “As a CCG, we can’t really comment on Medicspot as it is a new service coming in to the borough and so we don’t have much information on it.

“However, we absolutely recognise that some patients need an urgent same-day appointment and we are working closely with our GP practices to introduce new services and make the most of new technology to meet this need.

“According to the national GP Patient Survey, only 39 per cent of patients ringing for an appointment in our borough want it on the same day and the data shows that most of these patients get


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“Overall, we believe that our GP practices do an excellent job of meeting the needs of their patients.

“Collectively they offer approximately 5,000 appointments a day.

“Thanks to the GP Patient Survey, we know that 87 per cent of patients are happy with their GP practice, which is higher than the national average and the highest level of satisfaction in Greater Manchester.

“If you do need a GP appointment the same day and can’t get one at your practice, please remember that we also offer hundreds of extra GP appointments across the borough on evening and weekends through the GP extended access service run by local GPs; ring 01942 482848 for an appointment.”