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GP practices across Norfolk and Waveney transforming how they work and care for patients

GP practices across Norfolk and Waveney are continuing to transform how they work and care for patients.

Work to roll out new digital technology has been in progress for many months and has accelerated in recent weeks to help prepare and respond to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Over 80% of GP practices in Norfolk and Waveney have now adopted online consultation systems and video consultation systems. Others have switched to telephone triage and consultations.

To support GP practices to work in new ways and to enable staff to work from home, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has delivered 400 laptops (with webcams), 500 standalone webcams, 500 headsets and 50 iPads to primary care.

National appointment data for March and April is not yet available, but data from our online consultation systems shows an increase of approximately 50% in that access method.

Fakenham Medical Practice has recently seen appointment waiting times reduced by 90% thanks to new online technology. The system called Footfall enables patients to go online and request advice or an appointment without having to telephone.

Patients can ask questions and report symptoms. The practice then looks at the request and responds within a stated timeframe, connecting the patient to the right person, service or support. Patients can still phone if they want.

Feedback from patients using online consultation systems has been positive. Patients say they are getting the help they need more quickly and conveniently.

Comments from patients include: “I submitted a form and then 28 mins later I had been seen and sent away with a prescription. Can’t get better than that!”

“I just wanted to say that since the introduction of the new system, I think it is brilliant. It seems to be a far greater use of resources and you are dealt with in a far more efficient way. Well done!”

For GP surgeries the system reduces pressure on phone lines and ensures that the patient is connected to the right person, service or support.

Dr Ed Turnham, a GP in Norfolk and Waveney who is the local clinical lead for digital technology said: “We are really grateful to patients who have embraced new digital technology at our surgeries. Most patients understand the challenges we are facing during this coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and are happy to give this new technology a try. Many are pleased to find the online system offers a more convenient way to get help quickly.”



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