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Webcam doctors: will it work?

GPs could start offering online consultations next year. An innovative development or an accident waiting to happen?

GPs in France could start offering consultations over the internet from early next year, using webcams and instant messenger.

Health minister Roselyne Bachelot says online surgeries could provide a solution to the growing problem of GP shortages in rural areas.

Doctors would send a prescription by email or post to the patient, or directly to their local pharmacy.

Some GPs have expressed concern about the accuracy of an online diagnosis.

An innovative development or an accident waiting to happen? We asked Connexion newsletter readers for their thoughts.

Our local doctor in the Dordogne does not even have a computer.
All of his notes are handwritten so it is difficult to see how this jump into the 21st century would work.


Pharmaceutical industry will love this

I imagine this would be the scenario:

Doctor - do you ever feel sad or stressed?
Patient - sometimes

Doctor - and do you ever eat cheese?
Patient - yes occasionally

Doctor - and do you ever forget where you've put something?
Patient – yes, quite often

Doctor - and do you ever experience sore joints?
Patient - only in the mornings when I get out of bed

Doctor – right, I don’t have any more time sorry, I have other patients waiting. I will send you a prescription today for Prozac, Lipitor, the latest greatest Alzheimer’s drug and some anti-inflammatories. They should fix the problems

The pharmaceutical industries must be rubbing their hands with glee.

Margaret Whittaker, Marseille

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