Primary Care News

Primary care sees increase in online/video GP appointments in spring

According to statistics released by NHS England, 1,301,924 GP appointments in April 2024 were classed as video/online, a trend that has increased each month from 172,114 reported video/online consultations in April 2023.

19.8 million were classified as face-to-face; 7.8 million appointments are reported to have happened via telephone; 346,302 were home visits; and 994,913 are marked ‘unknown’.

NHSE notes that the statistics are classed as experimental. In addition, the accompanying information states that mode of the appointment is set locally by the practices “so may not represent the actual care setting of the appointment. For example, some video conference appointments may be logged by the practice as face-to-face.” Another note identifies that “it is likely that many video consultations start as a telephone appointment then switch to video and therefore may be undercounted.”

NHSE also offers an interactive data visualisation tool, available to view here. To view the statistics in full, please click here.

Earlier in the month, we highlighted how Dr Derek Adu-Sarkodie, GP and clinical lead for workforce and education at Wigan Borough Federated Healthcare, has been using YouTube as a means to tackle fake news about medical conditions and provide information for patients.

In April, we reported an update from NHS England around GP telephony, stating that 92 percent of GP practices in England now have cloud-based systems in place with remaining practices agreeing dates for upgrades within the next month.

In other news, NHS North Central London ICB and the Islington GP Federation are trialling an AI solution utilising WhatsApp for cervical cancer screening appointments, with the aim of increasing uptake in cervical cancer screening particularly amongst underserved populations.