Digitising primary care services in Doncaster

The next theme of Doncaster’s primary care campaign launches today (Tuesday 18 February), helping patients to make best use of digital tools and apps to help them communicate with local practices, at their convenience.

All 39 local practices are able to offer alternative ways for patients to communicate with their patients through a range of tools, apps and online platforms such as practice websites.

From recent surveys and engagement activities, we know that many people aren’t aware of the online services that all local practices offer. The campaign comes at a crucial time to help improve the awareness of these digital services that exist.

All Doncaster patients have the ability to book a GP or nurse appointment online. This means that patients can book an appointment on the go, at their convenience, 24 hours a day.

Repeat prescriptions can also be ordered online. If patients use prescribed medication, they can arrange with their local practice online access to order repeat prescriptions – they don’t need to request prescriptions in person or by telephone. Patients can even specify which local pharmacy they would like to use so they can go directly to the pharmacy to pick up prescription items.

In addition, all practices are able to share individual patient records. This enables individuals to see their own, personal care record, as and when they need to view it.

Dr David Crichton, local GP and Clinical Chair, NHS Doncaster CCG said: “We know that many people use their mobile phone and electronic devices on the go to look up information, make reservations and order goods – and we’re following this trend and making local health services accessible and bookable online.

“I am pleased to see this important phase of the campaign launch and look forward to seeing our online and digital offer develop, making it easier for patients to interact and communicate with their local practice.”

By summer 2020, every patient in Doncaster will be able to access symptom checking, lifestyle advice and signposting through an online consultation tool. This tool will direct patients to the most appropriate care, which could be either self-care, pharmacy, in urgent cases 999, or a GP or nurse appointment if appropriate.

A dedicated app is also available to patients, supporting them to choose the right service for their health and care needs. Across primary care, services are working towards a single preferred app for health and care services in Doncaster. Until then, patients can download the ‘Doncaster Choose Well’ app – providing timely information about what services exist and when they are open.

These developments may not be suitable for all people, however everyone should benefit as this will free up those traditional ways of accessing services such as phone calls and making an appointment in person.

Dr Dean Eggitt, local GP and Chief Executive of Doncaster Local Medical Committee said: “This is a key step to ensure that as a local health system, we respond to what our patients in Doncaster need and want.

“We know many working families and individuals prefer to use online tools to book appointments, see their care record, request repeat prescriptions and access local information, and this is a positive move to help raise awareness of these services that exist.