Regions Against COVID-19 #2- NHS Near Me, the Scottish tool to visit a GP in times of self-isolation

22nd April 2020

Within this series of news articles, EUREGHA takes the opportunity to highlight actions taken by our members to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.

Regions and local health authorities are working around the clock to find innovative solutions in providing qualitative healthcare while facing one of the biggest health threats of all times. But especially now it is important not to forget about the other patients. Lock downs, travel restrictions and maintaining a social distance make it hard for patients to visit their General Practitioners (GP’s). As people still need to receive the right medical care when they are in isolation, they can have a digital consultation with their GP.

NHS Near Me is a video consulting service that facilitates patients to conduct medical appointments from home via a device with an internet connection. The website is empowered by the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland and aligns with the Scottish Government Technology Enabled Care (TEC) programme.

The tool aims to protect both the workforce and patients. Video consultations are beneficial when a patient has a confirmed Covid-19 infection, or flu symptoms, and needs further clinical advice on what to do.  In this way, patients with a suspected infection will not leave their houses and reduce the infection spread. On top of that, the tool is beneficial for GP’s who have been exposed to a COVID-19 infection but still feel healthy enough to work. Please note that a video consultation is not sufficient for patients who require a physical examination.

Even though NHS Near Me was originally rolled out in 2016, the Coronavirus showcases the importance of digital solutions in health care. During the last four weeks, the number of consultations increased from 300 to 6000. Half of those appointments were planned with a GP. Near Me is supported by Attend Anywhere, the Australian leading organization in video technology in health.  The Attend Anywhere model was adopted by the Welsh Government as well, and is now fully rolled out to all GP practices in Wales.

“Digital solutions are showing great potential to make a real difference in people’s lives, keep them safe and at home in these extraordinary times” Dr. Andrea Pavlickova, International Engagement Manager, Technology Enabled Care and Digital Healthcare Innovation

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