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Health Secretary says he has ‘no problem’ with online check-ups if people want them

Is Sajid Javid about to backtrack on GP appointments? Health Secretary says he has ‘no problem’ with online check-ups if people want them

  • Health Secretary Sajid Javid says remote GP appointments are here to stay
  • Just 58 per cent of GP appointments are face-to-face according to latest figures
  • Javid said he is committed to ensuring everyone can choose to see their GP


Sajid Javid last night admitted remote GP appointments are here to stay after the pandemic.

The Health Secretary told a fringe event at the Tory conference that if phone or online appointments were what people wanted, then he had ‘no problem’ with that.

And he said there was a ‘role’ for remote consultations because many people like them.

Last night a source close to Mr Javid insisted he was still in favour of people having the right to choose face-to-face GP appointments.

Only last month, when the Daily Mail launched its campaign for GPs to get back to more ‘in person’ consultations, the Health Secretary said: ‘I am committed to ensuring everyone, no matter who they are or where they live, can choose to see their GP face-to-face.’

Last night a source close to Mr Javid insisted he was still in favour of people having the right to choose face-to-face GP appointments.

Before the Covid crisis, around 80 per cent of GP appointments were face to face. That slumped during the pandemic and even now has only recovered to 58 per cent.

Before the Covid crisis, around 80 per cent of GP appointments were face to face. That slumped during the pandemic and even now has only recovered to 58 per cent.

But last night Dennis Reed, director of campaign group Silver Voices, said he hoped Mr Javid was not ‘backtracking’.

Before the Covid crisis, around 80 per cent of GP appointments were face to face. That slumped during the pandemic and even now has only recovered to 58 per cent.

The Mail is campaigning for a return to the level of in-person appointments as before the pandemic.

At the fringe event, Mr Javid was questioned by a delegate who said the ‘most obvious way to raise productivity in the health service system is to move from in-person meetings with your GP’ to phone or online consultations.

He asked: ‘Do you intend to have more of that in the future?’

The Health Secretary replied: ‘There’s a role for remote consultations when it comes to healthcare.

‘I’m not just talking about it in primary care, with GPs. There was a lot more during the pandemic, more remote consultations throughout the NHS, and I suspect – in fact I know that from speaking to clinicians – that a lot of that will continue.

‘It continues because – I don’t think this is surprising at all – that you find a lot of people that actually prefer it.’

Mr Javid said he had been told by doctors at a mental health trust that the remote consultations they had been forced to introduce during the pandemic had proved popular with patients.

The Health Secretary (pictured) told a fringe event at the Tory conference that if phone or online appointments were what people wanted, then he had 'no problem' with that.

The Health Secretary (pictured) told a fringe event at the Tory conference that if phone or online appointments were what people wanted, then he had ‘no problem’ with that.

He said: ‘I was at a hospital just a couple of days ago when it was explained to me that, by necessity, during the pandemic they moved to remote consultations for most of the patients for that [mental health] trust, and they found actually they worked a lot better than they would have thought.

‘They hadn’t tried it before; the patients liked it; the feedback is good – it worked for everyone.’

Mr Javid added: ‘I think that when we look ahead, post-pandemic, there will be remote consultations.

‘And I think as long as that is something that clinically is the right outcome and it works for people, and that’s what they want, I see no problem with that at all.’

At no point did he refer to his previous comments that people should be able to demand face-to-face GP appointments.

Mr Reed said: ‘This sounds much more equivocal than before, when he has clearly said that if people want face-to-face GP appointments they should have them.

‘I hope he’s not backtracking on what he’s said before. I would have hoped the Tory conference would have be

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