Online GP consultations set to be the norm – Helen Martin

LAST week I went for a blood test appointment in my GP surgery. The door was locked. I put my mask on and knocked, then a masked medic let me in to approach reception behind a barrier.

Fewer people will get to see their GP in person (Picture: PA)
Fewer people will get to see their GP in person (Picture: PA)

No patients were waiting and no doctors or nurses were in sight until a nurse called me in for the test. After that I couldn’t leave without pressing a button so someone could let me out.

The nurse had checked a mole on my body and advised me to deal with my GP. I went home, asked my husband to photograph it, then logged into the surgery website on my PC, completed my e-consultation online and sent it in to my own doc with the photo attached. A few hours later he came back to me online asking for another photo next month to see if it had changed.

That’s how it goes. Doctors are generally working on phones or computers, like office executives. I’m sure if it was vital for them to really examine someone in full PPE gear they would, with a pre-booked, prepared appointment.

It’s logical because 30 or so patients in a waiting room could infect each other – and their doc – with Covid-19. After each patient in the examination room, it would have to be sanitised.

I know, from both a surgery GP and one in my family, that much of this began as a coronavirus solution, but will continue in future. It saves patients’ time and effort going to the surgery especially if they feel ill, and saves doctors dealing face-to-face with dozens a day.

The exceptions might be elderly patients who relate to Dr Finlay and Doc Martin, and don’t have a PC!