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GPs protest over online consultations draining NHS resources from seriously ill patients

PUBLISHED: 10:16 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:24 13 November 2019

GPs planning protest in east London against speeding up privatisation of NHS practices. Picture: Mike Brooke

GPs planning protest in east London against speeding up privatisation of NHS practices. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

GPs are protesting in east London against online digital consultations that are "speeding up" privatisation of NHS practices they fear will hit the elderly and the seriously ill.

Picture: Mike BrookePicture: Mike Brooke

Resources being ploughed into the digital technology that is gradually replacing traditional face-to-face visits to the doctor's is "cherry picking" younger and most wealthy patients, the GPs claim.

A demo is planned outside Poplar's Newby Place surgery on November 21 by Unite health service union to stop digital technology "hoovering up" better off patients.

"This is draining NHS resources to the private sector," the union's Tower Hamlets chair Dr Jackie Applebee said. "It reduces GPs funding for the chronically ill and the elderly because it is 'cherry picking' the young and the rich."

Picture: Mike BrookePicture: Mike Brooke

Worst affected would be pregnant women, the terminal ill or patients with mental health problems who all need more complex and costly care, the GPs say.

Privatisation would create "a two tier NHS" with less cash available if the fittest are "creamed off" by the private sector, they believe.

The GPs' Newby Place demo at 2pm on November 21 is demanding that "the NHS is not up for sale".

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