According to a recent article in The Lancet Digital Health, with cancer patients facing delays in diagnosis and treatment because of the diversion of resources during the COVID-19 pandemic “there is a growing expectation that telemedicine may play a central role in easing the backlog.”
The use of telemedicine (video, telephone, and other electronic communication) in the UK has risen from around 10% of general medical consultations before COVID-19 to approximately 75% during the peak of the pandemic and there are indications that telemedicine is here to stay.
One consequence of the pandemic and the growth of telemedicine, is that the number of cases a GP can manage daily has increased tremendously.
According to Richard Roope, senior clinical advisor at Cancer Research UK and practising general practitioner in Sussex, “We've had five years of innovation in five weeks”
Martin Marshall, CBE, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, cautiously predicts that up to half of general practitioner consultations will continue to be remote after the pandemic has subsided, at least in the foreseeable future.
Our Head of Stakeholder Relations, Hugh Adams, feels that the growth of telemedicine could be just one post pandemic benefit “ Confronted with something so extraordinary we have all had to think differently and whether that is increased use of telemedicine, innovative ways for patients to access their therapeutics or challenging the cost and time it takes to get new drugs to market, then I think we have grounds to look at the ‘new normal’ with a degree of optimism” he said.
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