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Council report a positive step in navigating telemedicine ‘minefield’ – MPS

The Medical Council’s new report on telemedicine is “a positive step” in supporting doctors to navigate “the minefield of remote consulting during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond”, according to Dr Rob Hendry, Medical Director at Medical Protection Society (MPS).

Yesterday, the Council published the report of its Working Group on Telemedicine, which highlights the challenges and benefits of telemedicine during the pandemic. https://www.medicalindependent.ie/new-medical-council-report-looks-at-challenges-and-benefits-of-telemedicine/

Dr Hendry said MPS has received frequent enquiries on telemedicine throughout the pandemic.

“The acknowledgment from the Medical Council that it should review its practices from a legal and policy angle, in relation to the issues identified in respect of doctors who provide telemedicine services is particularly welcomed.

“While it is right that the report acknowledges that telemedicine can improve access to healthcare for some communities, a significant number of doctors have told us about their concerns around the potential impact on vulnerable patients. Access to telemedicine could be impacted by factors such as digital literacy, disability, language, location or internet connection.

“Doctors must feel properly supported and should not be left to deal with any unintended repercussions from an increased use of telemedicine. A long-term strategic approach is needed when considering the role of virtual care beyond the pandemic. This should be based on the experiences of patients, an ongoing evaluation of the barriers to accessing telemedicine for vulnerable patient groups, and the concerns raised by doctors.”

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