GPs divided over technology use in practices

GPs are divided over how to best adopt technology in their practices, a survey has found.

The survey, conducted by ComRes, indicates that 39% of GPs feel that every practice should use the same NHS digital triaging service. But a similar number of GPs (34%) held contrasting views, believing that each practice should be able to choose which service works best for them. A further 3% believe that all practices should use the same non-NHS digital triaging service.

The poll also reveals that 60% say their impact has been exaggerated; a figure that rises to 70% among the country’s longest-serving GPs. In addition, GPs are not convinced by the capability of the NHS App, due to launch in December, to help reduce demand on primary care services. 61% expect that the NHS app, which entered beta testing last week, is likely to actually increase the number of patients wanting to see a GP in person.

GPs also appear to doubt the NHS’s ability to implement new digital services, with the digitisation of the Health Service a top priority of Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Only 14% were confident the NHS app would launch by the end of the year, with 83% not confident in the NHS’s capability to effectively implement new digital services. 61% of those polled believed that an NHS app would likely increase the number of people who wish to see a GP.

Doctors are also split on whether digital services are important in improving the quality of primary care, with 52% saying it is important and 40% saying it isn’t.

Andrew Gardner, CEO of Doctorlink, said: “It’s clear that the views of GPs haven’t always been properly considered when it comes to the integration of digital services into the NHS. We acknowledge this and make sure that we develop our services in partnership with, and in service of, the GP community. As an industry, we must do more to address GPs valid questions and prove that digital services can help them deliver better outcomes for patients.”

ComRes interviewed 1,003 GPs in the UK online from 15th to 29th August 2018. Data were nationally representative by practising region. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables can be accessed at

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