It looks as if the balloon of the “virtual GP” has been pricked and deflated. Living with uncertainty, which is a large part of the skill of Primary Care GPs, is hard enough if you examine the patient, and harder still if you don’t. The litigation alone is worrying, and my own practice has abandoned triage some time ago now.. It is good to know the decision has been vindicated. The cost of the calls to mobiles is another matter, as is consultant phone triage…. Is triage a case of when less is really more? At least video conferencing (Skype etc) gives the chance to see as well as hear.
Demand for general practice appointments is rising rapidly, and in an attempt to deal with this, many practices have introduced systems of telephone triage. Patients are phoned by a doctor or nurse who either manages the problem on the phone, or agrees with the patient whether and how urgently they need to be seen.
A new large study, published in The Lancet today ESTEEM study [4 August] and funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), has investigated the potential value of telephone triage for patients and for the NHS….
NHS reality postings including Triage: