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    Digital technology revolutionises patient access to health care

    An ever increasing number of local people are now embracing the digital revolution as an alternative to attending their GP practice in person during the coronavirus pandemic.
    To maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, people are advised to stay at home as much as possible.
    Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or Anosmia - the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell that can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked), must NOT visit their GP, pharmacy or hospital.
    Patients should check their GP practice website to find out whether GP online consultation is available. Using this method to make contact with practices is one of the best ways to access them for non-urgent healthcare needs during the current pandemic situation we are in.
    The system works in a similar way to NHS 111’s online ‘safety’ questions and supports signposting to self-care advice, where appropriate, and enables practices to respond to patients as efficiently and effectively as possible. The process is supported by various methods to communicate with patients, such as using SMS messaging or by phone, depending on a practice’s processes and preference.
    Whilst staying at home people can also access NHS help and support using their smartphone, tablet or computer, in addition to GP online consultation.
    The NHS Health at Home webpage has information letting people know how to:
    • contact their GP
    • order repeat prescriptions
    • manage long-term conditions
    • maintain mental and physical wellbeing  

    Mr Waqas Ali Yousaf, a patient at Market Street Medical Practice in Droylsden, said:  “I have used GP online consultation quite a few times and I find it very handy and easy to use.

    “I find the online method a better option for getting a reply for less urgent appointments, or to order a repeat prescription for cream I need. I also book appointments to see the GP.”

    Dr Kate Hebden, CCG Governing Body GP member for primary care at NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you need an NHS service, try to do it online first. If you cannot get what you need this way try asking a friend or family member to help you, or speak to your GP surgery on the phone. GP online consultation is another great way for you to contact your GP.

    “However, you should still go to A&E if you have a serious or life-threatening emergency, or if you feel very unwell, and attend appointments for ongoing treatment, unless you have been told not to. If you’re unsure, you should speak to your GP, hospital or other NHS care provider who will advise if you need to go in person.”
    For more information about available health services in Tameside and Glossop visit https://www.tamesideandglossopccg.org/accessingcare

    You can also find out more at: www.nhs.uk/health-at-home
    [In the photo left to right: Dr Ashwin Ramachandra, GP at Market Street Medical Practice and his patient Mr Waqas Ali Yousaf]