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Booking appointments online most useful tool

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Over half of people would find booking GP appointments online the most useful advance in healthcare technology, states a survey commissioned by the Department of Health.

The survey was carried out by Ipsos MORI and is part of a series of surveys that have run regularly since spring 2000 to track the public's perception of the NHS and social care. Fieldwork for this survey took place in November and December 2012.

When presented with a list of possible future services, 54 per cent said they would find booking appointments online the most useful. In the last year a higher number of people were more likely to consult primary care professionals by email, voice or video call. More people ordered prescriptions online (11 per cent) compared with eight per cent that ordered prescriptions in December 2011. A greater number of the respondents were likely to sign up to receive text message reminders to renew repeat prescriptions and more respondents had used the 111 telephone service for non-emergency assistance this year.

Younger people and those from certain sectors of society were the most likely to be already using new ways to engage with the NHS and said they would be more willing to do so in the future.

The majority of respondents (85 per cent) also expressed satisfaction with their GP visits in the last year. The findings included that 70 per cent of the public remained satisfied with the running of the NHS, and 75 per cent of people that had experienced social care services were satisfied with them. Fewer people said they were disatisfied with the running of the NHS than last year.

A total of 1001 adults, aged over 16, were questioned as part of the survey between 5 November and 16 December 2012.

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