Video consultations to be rolled out in Wales, as dentists prepare for virtual appointments

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Initiatives to promote video consultations are set to be rolled out in Wales following the successful pilot of virtual GP and community primary care appointments. Video consultations will now be used by dentists, pharmacists and opticians as part of a national effort to resume and restore health and dental services and provide support for patients during the COVID-19 crisis. 

During lockdown, GPs in Wales carried out over 6,400 video consultations and there have also been more than 8,000 primary and secondary care calls to support local communities. The plan is to roll out the service to include dental practices, community pharmacies and opticians. Nearly 98% of patients who have used video consultations in the last few months rated the service as either excellent, really good or good. 

Video calls have enabled many services to continue running while physical premises and surgeries have been closed, and they could provide a silver lining at what is a very difficult time for health providers and patients. Virtual consultations have saved over 35,000 miles of travel and 1,200 hours of travel time, contributing to cost savings and a reduction in emissions equivalent to 9 tons of carbon dioxide. 

In July, the pilot scheme will be extended to cover dental practices, pharmacies and opticians, and it is hoped that patients and health professionals will benefit. In dentistry, virtual appointments will enable dentists to provide advice and treatment guidance for patients with mild ailments and to prepare in advance for patients who require in-chair treatment. This will help to ensure that patients can be treated as quickly and efficiently as possible once they arrive at the surgery. 

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