Report finds that video consultation could help retain GPs and improve services for patients

An in depth report into a GP Digital Retention programme concluded that it could help with the retention and recruitment of GPs.

Redmoor Health carried out a pilot programme into the digital solution in order to evaluate the benefits and barriers of remote video consultation within practices.

The report was commissioned by Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Service because of the need to address the national issue of decreasing number of GPs both in terms of recruitment and retention, set against a background of increasing demand for services from patients.

Prior to the report, it was recognised that there was potential for the use of remote video consultation as a means of supporting GPs and patients by providing an alternative method to access.

It was also seen as a positive way of helping to retain GPs within the system through providing a better work-life balance and removing geographical barriers that can hinder recruitment. It was also felt that there was significant efficiency savings to be realised.

However, there were also well recognised barriers including wifi infrastructure in practices, GP homes and patient homes and lack of training and upskilling.

However the pilot programme, developed by Redmoor Health, was the first time that the issue had been looked at in detail.

The pilot had a particular focus on two cohorts of GPs –

· those close to retirement who wish to continue working, but not full time at a practice

· those GP’s with young families or other caring responsibilities who wish to maintain their hours whilst retaining a work life balance and wish to return to practice in a flexible way.

The programme went live in June 2019 supporting 10 GP Practices, with six starting to deliver video consultations the same month.

By January 2020, the programme had steadily grown to have actively engaged with 22 GP practices with 20 delivering video consultations and a further two in the testing phase.

The total number of video consultations delivered by these practices has risen from 41 video consultations in the first month to 357 video consultations by January 2020 with a steady month on month rise.

Data provided by Redmoor Health highlights the types of consultations undertaken by video within the pilot to date. These include the use of video for:

• Palliative care discussions with patient and family

• Discussion with patients about blood results when they were on holiday

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Report finds that video consultation could help retain GPs and improve services for patients