The latest Digital Health Unplugged is now live – tune in to hear our news team’s views on digital primary care services.

During the Covid-19 pandemic primary care was forced to go digital-first to avoid unnecessary face-to-face consultations in a bid to control the virus, but now lockdown restrictions are easing are those services here to stay?

Senior reporter Andrea Downey, editor Hannah Crouch and editor-in-chief Jon Hoeksma look at how patients used digital services, which services were more popular and if the NHS is at a stage to support digital-only primary care.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said all GP appointments in the future should be done through teleconsultations unless there’s a “compelling reason not to”.

Speaking at a Royal College of Physicians event on the future of healthcare post-Covid, Hancock said teleconsultations would allow the NHS to provide a “much better” service.

But the Royal College of GPs has said a totally remote service “wouldn’t be in anybody’s best interests”.

Professor Martin Marshall, the college’s chair, recognised the need to continue embracing technology following Covid-19 but cautioned digital services should only be uses “as long as it’s safe”.

Video consultations increased during the pandemic, but didn’t prove as popular as older technology such as the telephone.

In June Digital Health News asked a number of digital GP suppliers how patients have been using their services since the start of the pandemic, and if this will change the way primary care services are delivered in the future.

Text and telephone consultations were favoured over video consultations, which providers put down to video being newer than telephone and therefore less familiar.

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