ALAN MAK: Modern technology can help the NHS

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I’M a strong supporter of our NHS.

Last week I met doctors from Havant Health Centre and Southern Health NHS Trust who fund some local services.

I found out more about the work they are both doing to change medical perceptions in the community, as part of an initiative called Better Local Care.

Supporting GPs is at the heart of the government’s commitment to a high quality, seven-day health service.

But a key message is that residents can always do more to help themselves too.

This starts with using modern technology, and Better Local Care’s eConsult service enables patients to receive medical advice without having to go into the practice.

I tested eConsult out for myself and saw first-hand the wealth of information available online.

In just one local practice, eConsult is already freeing up 13 appointment slots per week for GPs to see patients with serious conditions.

The staff at Havant Health Centre are doing an excellent job in making the NHS more efficient, while giving patients access to the expert advice using new technology.

The doctors tell me the reality is that not everyone needs to see a GP for every condition.

For example, nurse practitioners and paramedics are fully qualified to deal with general ailments like sore throats.

I’m fully supportive of government plans to train an additional 5,000 GPs by 2020, but also encourage people to live healthier lifestyles too.

That makes a big difference.

Many of the fantastic organisations that offer support and activities in the community were exhibitors at my recent older persons’ information fair.

By moving away from the mind-set of needing to see a specific GP on the same day, regardless of the seriousness of a condition, and using a mixture of new technology and other trained healthcare professionals, we can deliver a world class, seven-day NHS service that’s sustainable into the future.

In Westminster, I published my report on the Fourth Industrial Revolution where I set out 20 ideas for the government about how Britain can lead the way in developing new technologies such as driverless cars and 3D printing.

I met Chancellor Philip Hammond ahead of the autumn statement, urging him to commit funding for the tech economy and entrepreneurs, including a new research and innovation hub for the Solent region.

Alan Mak is the MP for Havant

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