BMA board will examine how best to use technology going forward and calls for government to take heed of its findings
Credit: George Hodan/Public domain
Doctors have called for an examination of the evidence on how, where and when digital or remote patient consultations should be carried out.
At the British Medical Association’s annual representative meeting on Tuesday, delegates passed a motion calling on the trade union’s board of science to look at remote consultations and when they can be used appropriately.
Although BMA delegates recognised the need for remote consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic and felt they were generally positive, they also thought they could be detrimental to some patients who require face-to-face appointments.
Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, chair of the BMA’s board of science, said: “The use of digital consulting has been essential during the pandemic for reducing the risk of infection for patients and in GP surgeries and hospitals. Digital consulting certainly has its benefits. It’s flexible and can mean more patients are seen. However, we know it’s not for everyone and that some patients should and do need to see a doctor face-to-face – something we have continued to offer where safe and necessary throughout the pandemic.”
She added: “The BMA’s board of science will review the available evidence to see how valuable an asset this is in helping doctors understand how and when best to use technology for remote consultations. But more importantly, we hope that the government will take into account the board’s findings when pushing for greater use of digital technology in the course of patient care.”
Scottish Government first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that ‘Near Me’ remote video consultations will become the default option for patient consultations in Scotland and will also be expanded to social care.