A digital first approach has been a long term goal for the NHS, even before the pandemic. In January 2019, the NHS Long Term Plan committed that digitally enabled care will go mainstream across the NHS and that every patient will have the right to digital-first primary care by 2023/24.
However, most health and social care services had to rapidly adapt how they offer services and support during the pandemic, with many moving away from traditional face to face contact to using telephone and online systems much quicker than anticipated.
GP practices introduced a ‘total triage’ system encouraging the use of systems such as ‘E-consult’ or ‘Ask My GP’ to book appointments, with hospital appointments often being postponed or being conducted by phone or virtually.
This report looks at the views and experiences of 243 Bury Borough residents about the rapid changes to online and telephone support and services for those both with and without digital access.