A Scottish GP practice in Wick has trialled video appointments this week in a bid to meet patients’ needs, NHS Highland has said.
From 29 November, a nurse and a GP based at Riverview Practice in Wick offered video appointments to patients who did not need to be seen face-to-face.
The service, called GP Near Me, is an extension of an existing NHS Highland’s NHS Near Me video consulting service, which is used for hospital outpatient appointments.
Riverview Practice was the first to trial this service, which is currently undergoing evaluation and could be extended to other practices after an NHS Near Me governance group meeting in December, according to an NHS Highland spokesperson.
Seeing a GP from home
Patients who want to attend a GP Near Me appointment will need internet connection and a device enabled to make video calls.
They will be connected to a GP through a link that they will be sent after they book an appointment.
NHS Highland NHS Near Me lead Clare Morrison said: ‘Many patients have told us that being able to attend an appointment from home or their workplace would be much more convenient for them.
‘It isn’t going to be for everyone, but this is about giving patients another option to make care more accessible.’
Patients told NHS Highland they find video appointments useful especially because they don’t have to go out in adverse weather conditions or arrange care for their relatives while they are not home.
Response from the practice
Riverview Practice business manager Joanna Groves said the test week was an occasion for the practice to understand ‘the best way to offer this service to patients’.
Dr Neil Houston, who provided most of the appointments, said that ‘having a video consultation with a patient in their own home or place of work can help the patient feel more relaxed and can give the doctor additional insight into the life of the patient they are looking after’.
He added: ‘I think video consulting has the potential to work for a variety of patients and a variety of conditions. Patient response has been positive and we are evaluating this fully.’
An NHS Highland spokesperson said the overall response from the practice team has also been positive.
Around 30 patients had a video appointment and they have been asked to provide feedback though a survey, which will be used to further evaluate the service.