This article by Rebecca Rosen and Trisha Greenhalgh in the BMJ looks at the safety of remote GP consultations. It begins by looking at the case of student David Nash, who tragically died in 2020 after four telephone consultations with his GP; he was denied an in-person appointment for a painful ear infection that led to a fatal brain abscess. One coroner has raised concerns that this is not a one-off incident, noting that in five inquest reports they wrote during the pandemic, they question whether deaths could have been prevented by in-person consultations.
The authors look at the recommendations of the ongoing 'Remote by Default 2' study, which is exploring how best to embed remote consulting in future GP services. They highlight better triage of appointment requests, active listening, checking back, increasing the use of video consulting and better training for clinicians as factors that could improve the safety of remote consultation.
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