Table 3. Mitigation actions to address risks in remote general practice consultations
Design and delivery of services
  • Provide training for all staff to identify patients’ ability to engage with remote consulting and offer appointments according to these abilities

  • Include patients as ‘co-designers’ of digital services and/or processes

  • Maintain varied access routes into general practice, including in-person attendance to book appointments

  • Support digital inclusion and preserve equity of access through actions such as peer-to-peer teaching provided by patient participation groups or signposting to local training in digital skills

  • Invest in digital infrastructure to reduce the risk of failed or disrupted consultations

During consultations
  • Use remote consultations as one of several different modes to engage with patients in their individual contexts and swap between them when necessary and possible

  • Pay attention to screening, preventive care, and lifestyle advice while consulting remotely

  • Use training and guidance to build clinician skills in identifying and managing safeguarding concerns

  • Develop robust quality and safety assurance processes for remote consulting

Supporting patients and staff
  • Improve communications to patients about how to access online services, including what type of consultation works best for different health problems and the principles to be applied when choosing between different types of consultation

  • Provide training and guidance for all clinicians (see above) on how to use digital modes of access to general practice

  • Develop the role of care navigators and social prescribers to support highly vulnerable patients and others to access services and to navigate between providers

  • Work with external organisations to strengthen digital skills in vulnerable groups and to reduce digital exclusion

Addressing the needs of the wider population
  • Monitor use of other services and onward referral rates following remote consultations

  • Ensure that population health initiatives and efforts to reduce inequalities are sustained alongside remote consulting