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Video consultation 'here to stay' for NHS in Scotland

Good Morning Scotland - Weekend

BBC Radio Scotland

An appointment system at a doctor's surgery

Video consultation is here to stay with the NHS, says Clare Morrison, the national lead on the Near Me project that was originally set up to provide outpatient appointments for those living in the Highlands.

The service has since been rolled out across Scotland due to the coronavirus crisis.

In February there were around 300 appointments a week, while last week there were 15,500, Ms Morrison tells BBC Radio Scotland.

"Before Covid, we were using it to improve access for those rural areas, reducing journeys, and now, of course, it enables physical distancing," she says.

"It can be used in just about any care setting - primary and secondary care, community services, mental health , physio, speech and language, general practice, cardiology, diabetes - practically any speciality."

Ms Morrison says 97.8% of patients have said they would use it again, and while there will always be a need for face-to-face treatment, video is more reassuring for patients than speaking to a doctor over the phone.

I think it's here to stay since distancing will be with us for some time to come. It is much easier to attend an appointment and it saves on journeys, reducing the carbon footprint."

Clare MorrisonNear Me project lead
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