So, in future you won’t be welcome to turn up at a surgery unless you have first spoken to your doctor via WhatsApp or some other electronic means.
Of course the NHS, like every other public service, should make use of technology where it genuinely improves users’ experience. Few of us would want to go back to queueing at the Post Office to buy a car tax disc – something which we can now do quickly online.
But there are problems with the rather extreme policy of trying to shift almost all GPs’ appointments online. People with most need of seeing a doctor are elderly, disabled of chronically ill – the very people who can struggle most with computers and smartphones.
ACCORDING to the Office for National Statistics, while 99 per cent of 16 to 44-year-olds are regular users of the internet, the same is true of only 47 per cent of the over-75s and 78 per cent of disabled people. While it might come as a surprise to government policymakers who have grown up with smartphones, 7.5 per cent of the UK population have never used the internet.
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE
July 31, 2020