Search

Check-ups over Skype to be introduced as Camden GPs adapt to ‘challenging finances’

09:28 15 April 2014

Dr Caz Sayer, chair of Camden CCG

Dr Caz Sayer, chair of Camden CCG

Archant

Check-ups over Skype and more care in the home are just some of the ways GPs in Camden are trying to adapt patient care to an evermore challenging financial landscape.

The rollout of innovative technology – like video conferencing, data capturing and digital medical records – along with extending treatment out into the community, are being seen as key to combating Camden’s long-standing health problems.

The borough suffers a disproportionately high level of mental health issues and faces challenges with helping patients with complex needs and reducing illnesses resulting from social inequalities.

The new “innovation” vision comes as the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Camden marks its first anniversary since taking over Primary Care Trusts in April 2013.

The reorganisation was intended to give GPs more control over their budgets and more of a say in what health care services were needed for their patients.

Budgets set for primary health care have, by and large, remained flat in Camden at a time when GPs are reporting longer working hours amidst higher patient demand.

Chairman of Camden CCG, Dr Caz Sayer, who was a GP for 20 years at Adelaide Road Medical Practice, Belsize Park, admitted the group faced a “dwindling 
financial situation” but that innovation would be key to ensuring care did not suffer.

“There’s no new money for us, but the money we do have is currently in the wrong place,” she said.

“We need to reduce unnecessary wastage, improve efficiency of care and make the most out of what we’ve got.

“The financial situation will get more difficult over the years, but this can be combated by greater innovation.”

New technology is being seen as vital to saving money.

Plans are in place to fit GP surgeries in Camden with video conferencing equipment that will 
allow patients to have appointments over Skype from the comfort of their own home – something Dr Sayer says is of particular interest to those in the 19 to 40-year-old bracket.

More controversially, digitalisation of medical records is also in the pipeline.

Data protection, especially medical, is an increasing concern for patients as information becomes more easily shareable and vulnerable to leaks or theft.

But Dr Sayer insists residents in Camden will be well protected. “We’re the only CCG to have 
accredited safe haven status, meaning the data will be secure within our system,” she said. “And it’s all only done with the patients’ consent.

“The roll-out of Skype facilities to our GP practices is also all about extending access to GPs.

“There are certain things that can easily be dealt with over video calls – but it’s important to point out we don’t think it will replace face-to-face consultations.”

As funding for NHS services 
remains a concern for patients and health staff, how far innovation can take a service already under strain will be the main challenge for the CCG as it goes into its second year.

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Camden School for Girls pupil Hannah Morris, 15, speaks in the House of Commons

A Gospel Oak schoolgirl became one of the youngest people ever to make a speech in the House of Commons as members of the UK Youth Parliament held their annual debate in Westminster last Friday.

15:51
Thieves attempted to steal a cash point machine from Highgate Post Office in Archway Road in the early hours of this morning.

Thieves attempted to steal a cash point machine from a post office in Highgate in the early hours of this morning.

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, explains why the hospital believes its plans to construct a pioneering new research institute will bring huge benefits to local patients.

Planned engineering work could affect your journey this weekend.

There is a relatively minor programme of planned closures on the Tube and Overground network this weekend - but they could still affect your journey. Read on for the lowdown.

Most read news

At 100 years old, this was Ruby Holt’s first visit to the beach – and the first time she saw the ocean.

An underwater cable has been cut. It seems that it wasn’t the cable that was supposed to be cut.

For anyone in the hold up – it’s not much fun.

Even for Buffalo – one of the US’s snowiest places – the weather has been extreme,

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition