12 May 2017
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Press release: 'Remote' digital and video care will not reduce hospital admissions or replace the management of chronic illness, say family doctors

The professional and training body for Irish family doctors has predicted that remote video consultations will be unsuitable for the vast majority of people requiring care, and will not reduce hospital admissions, even though they will have a role in the future.

The Irish College of General Practitioners, which holds its Annual Conference and AGM in Wexford this weekend (12-14 May), will discuss the future path of general practice, hearing from the HSE's Chief Information Officer, Richard Corbridge on the theme "Designing the Future GP," against the background of a crisis in retention and manpower, and the imminent publication of the report of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare.

The ICGP's Chair of Communications, Dr Mark Murphy, said "GPs are innovators and early adopters of new technology. The College has promoted a whole-system use of ICT in general practice, and Irish family doctors are amongst the most advanced in terms of digital health in Ireland."

"There is a lot of talk now about video consultations with doctors, but nothing can replace the primacy of face-to-face consultations between doctors and their patients. In fact, only a fraction of patients are suitable for accessing patient care via a video consultation with their doctor."

Incoming President of the ICGP, Dr Richard Brennan, said "Most patients require longitudinal care to deal with chronic illness, a range of conditions or disability. The majority of people benefit from and want the ongoing care from doctors who know them, and video consultations will not reduce the level of hospital admissions."

The Annual Conference and AGM will be held in White's Hotel, Wexford on 12-14 May. As well as three plenaries, there is a broad educational programme with a range of workshops.

The ICGP's Business Session reflects the members' concerns about the future contract for GPs, the impact of FEMPI and the crisis in retention and recruitment of family doctors.

Media queries

Aileen O'Meara, Communications Consultant, ICGP
087 2239830

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