Practice nurses can use Skype, WhatsApp, and Facetime where video consultation tools are not already in place during the coronavirus outbreak.
New guidance from NHS X – which is driving the digital transformation of the health service – approves the use of commercial communication apps not usually recommended for NHS use, ‘where the benefit outweighs the risk’.
NHS X stated in the guidance: ‘The health and social care system is going to face significant pressures due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In the current circumstances, it could be more harmful not to share health and care information than to share it’.
It added: ‘We encourage the use of videoconferencing to carry out consultations with patients and service users. This could help to reduce the spread of Covid-19. It is fine to use video conferencing tools such as Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime as well as commercial products designed specifically for this purpose’.
The updates come as NHSX, NHS England and NHS Improvement fast-tracked a tender for the procurement of online consultation facilities for surgeries around the country during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Surgeries have been advised to move to a total triage and undertake remote care where possible during the Covid-19 outbreak.