Scottish Government provides £6 million to support online booking, prescription ordering and patient portal
GPs in Scotland are to receive more than £6 million over the next three years to develop digital services, the Scottish Government has announced.
It said it is providing the money from the £60 million Primary Care Fund to support individual GP practices develop online booking systems and pilot the use of e-consultation services by early adopters.
It will also support the development of a portal through which patients will be able to access their own personalised electronic health records.
Health Secretary Shona Robison (pictured) said: “In conjunction with local GPs and their health board representatives, we’ll be using this funding to overcome some of the start-up issues that we know some GPs are experiencing.
“We’ll also be working with certain pioneering practices to expand the digital services they offer even further – funding IT solutions to give patients online self-help content, sign posting options, symptom checkers, access to NHS 24 clinicians and the ability to consult remotely over the internet with their own GP.”
The Scottish Government has begun work with health boards to help GP surgeries reconfigure their current IT systems where necessary, ensure all practices have the appropriate security controls in place and provide support to train practice staff to operate the online systems.
The announcement highlighted progress at the Ellon Medical Group, just outside Aberdeen, which has online appointment booking and a repeat prescription service for 16,000 patients. In the past year it has seen more than 13,500 prescriptions ordered online, and a 23% reduction in failure to attend appointments.
In August of last year the think tank Reform Scotland published a report stating that just over half of the country’s GP surgeries offered the ability to order repeat prescriptions online, but only 10% provided a facility for online appointments booking.
Image from Scottish Parliament, Open Scottish Parliament Licence