Thousands of Newham patients to get access to remote healthcare

Patients at two GP practices in Newham now have access to their GP via a messaging service. Picture:

Patients at two GP practices in Newham now have access to their GP via a messaging service. Picture: Docly - Credit: Archant

A GP messaging service aimed at cutting face-to-face transmission of coronavirus has been offered to more than 15,000 patients.

The Dr Knight and Dr Ashar Surgery in Stratford and Project Surgery in Plaistow are both taking advantage of the technology to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

The coronavirus outbreak presents a challenge to the NHS with many practices straining to deliver services due to illness, two-week self-isolation from suspected coronavirus cases and social distancing for high-risk groups of healthcare professionals.

The Dr Knight and Dr Ashar Surgery, working with tech firm Docly, rolled out the remote GP service to its 10,000 patients within 48-hours of signing up.

The Project Surgery’s 5,000 patients have had access to the service since November.

Dr Vaishali Ashar, GP principal at the Dr Knight and Dr Ashar Surgery, said: “Our collaboration allows our patients to get same-day GP consultations without having to set foot outside their front door.

“Crucially, this means that patients do not come into the surgery and ensures they are able to maintain appropriate social distancing for their own safety, but they can still access the medical care they need safely and quickly.”

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Dr Farzana Hussain, GP Principal at the Project Surgery, said that Docly’s digital support while staff were self-isolating has helped the practice continue to serve the community during the pandemic.

“Coronavirus has come against a backdrop of tremendous shortages in the medical workforce, especially in primary care, so demand is already really very high and continues to grow day by day.

“Digital healthcare, if done well, has a way of creating positive change - GPs can see their patients remotely and much faster, as well as being able to see more people during the working day,” Dr Hussain said.

Docly is free to all NHS patients registered with a GP surgery partnered with the text-based GP service.

The service can arrange tests, referrals and prescriptions. Patients can have a written message conversation with a GP without the need for an appointment. Docly offers same-day consultations, repeat prescriptions, advice and treatment.