Primary Care News

Royal College of GPs in NI survey highlights need for GP tech plan

A survey conducted in April 2020 by the Royal College of GPs in NI has highlighted barriers of basic IT, hardware and software is preventing some GPs to carry out remote consultations. 

The Royal College of GPs in Northern Ireland is calling on the government to develop a fit for purpose GP technology plan in response and support GPs with investment. 

Over 100 GPs in NI were surveyed, with 40% not being able to practice remotely during the pandemic with many stating technology reasons.

4 in 10 GPs surveyed cited network issues were a problem and said there were system crashes throughout the day.

RCGPNI is now calling on the government to ensure every GP practice has the necessary technology to allow GPs and their teams to work remotely from home, where necessary.

Dr Laurence Dorman, Chair of the Royal College of GPs in Northern Ireland, said “Our GP colleagues have to be commended for their truly innovative response in totally changing how they deliver care in our surgeries. Through investment in IT, access to home working will benefit our patients, ensuring they have good access to their own GP who may not be able to attend their practice in person.”

“Aside from the extra pressures brought about by COVID-19, patients still require care for undiagnosed conditions and management of long term illness. GPs are the doctors the public know and trust and they need to be facilitated so their patients can access them better in these changed times.”

“Remote consultations mean that general practice can ‘stay open’ and continue to provide safe care for patients in the community, helping to keep the rest of our Northern Ireland health and social care system upright during this crisis. However, we must be properly equipped with the technology to safely do our jobs.”

“Standardised technology backed by well-staffed IT departments, rolled out across general practice would make a major difference to the care we can deliver to our patients both during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond and would also benefit the rest of our health system.”