Response to Digital-First Primary Care Policy consultation

Healthwatch Central West London (CWL) and its H&F Committee welcome the opportunity to comment on Digital-First Primary Care Policy: consultation on patient registration, funding and contracting rules by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

We welcome the NHS England and NHS Improvement consultation document and its efforts to address issues deriving from the quick expansion of digital providers. We support the commitment of providing the option to all patients in every GP practice to access health services on line in the future as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. However, we expect NHS England to support GP practices by ensuring there is a secure method of email and online communication between GP practices and patients.

We would like to stress the importance of assuring patients that traditional elements of accessing healthcare will not be lost, NHS England should make it very clear when communicating any changes to patients that those who can’t or don’t wish to use digital services or tools will still be able to access face to face appointments and health care in general practice. We recommend that NHS England and NHS Improvement reconsiders the “digital-first” name, which can be misleading and confusing for patients.

To read the full Healthwatch Central West London and Hammersmith and Fulham Local Committee response to each chapter of the consultation document, you can click the link below:

Healthwatch Central West London and Hammersmith & Fulham Local Committee Response to Digital First Consultation