With the announcement of new opening hours for GPs and allowing them to be consulted over phone, e-mails and Skype, accessing a GP will become easier for people in England.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that the new plan will benefit over 7 million patients, far more than originally planned. Cameron announced the Ģ50-m GP Access Fund in October.
AdvertisementThe GP Access Fund aims at helping people visit their GPs in evenings or weekends, or contact them according to their comfort.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said, "Moving nearly a million people onto proactive care plans is one of the biggest changes that we need to make in our NHS. Many doctors already give great care but I want to make sure this is completely co-ordinated to head off problems and keep people from going to hospital unnecessarily."
After the change, over 7.5m people in England will be able to consult their GPs all seven days in a week from 8 am to 8 pm. Prime Minister Cameron said, "I wanted to make it easier for people to get appointments that fit in around a busy working week and family commitments."
However, cases such as shortness of breath, heart pain and other life-threatening situations should not be taken up remotely and such patients should be rushed to emergency services.
In some other situations such as pain of bones or suspected fractures or stomach problems, patients need to be examined in person.
However, according to Dr Will Murdoch, who works at Birmingham's Vitality Partnership and consults on Channel 4's Embarrassing Bodies, while consulting through Skype some people tend to show things that they would not do so otherwise.
He told Channel 4 News, "My most memorable example was a young man who had scabies on his penis. He was more than willing to show that to me."