Thursday 23 February 2017

Seeing your GP by Skype among Lib Dems ambitious plans

By David Hughes

Published 09/04/2015 | 15:53

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg meets patients and staff at Bodmin Community Hospital in Cornwall. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg meets patients and staff at Bodmin Community Hospital in Cornwall. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Patients could routinely see their GP on Skype, with repeat prescriptions available online under plans set out by election hopeful Nick Clegg.

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The Liberal Democrat leader committed to using £250m from the sale of NHS assets deemed to be redundant to fund the use of technology in a drive to create a paperless health service in England.

The move is in line with the recommendations made by NHS England head Simon Stevens, the Lib Dems said.

The Lib Dems stressed that people would not be forced to have GP consultations using video call services such as Skype, but the facility could be used for minor ailments or progress checks.

The money would come from the sale of assets including land and buildings such as former accommodation blocks.

Mr Clegg said: "The NHS doesn't need warm words, it needs hard cash.

"And we know exactly how much because the boss of NHS England has told us - an extra £8 billion-a-year by 2020.

"The Liberal Democrats are the only party that has committed to finding that money and the only one that has set out how it will pay for it.

"But we also need to help the NHS adapt so it is fit for the challenges of the 21st century.

"That's why we have a plan to introduce modern technology that will help patients, with more doctors' appointments and repeat prescriptions at the touch of a button."

The party claims that by committing to Mr Stevens's Five Year Forward View the Liberal Democrats will spend £17 billion more than the Tories and £7 billion more than Labour on the NHS.

The Lib Dems said their plans would mean the ability to pay for five million more operations than the Conservatives, and allow them to hire 150,000 more nurses and 38,000 more GPs than Labour.

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