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Digital medical certificates are to be tried out by GPs

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DOCTORS are set to trial Guernsey’s first digital medical certificates for the first time.

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It is hoped this will lead to patients being able to receive their medical certificates via a mobile device, use them to claim benefits online and ultimately remove the need for paper versions.

This trial is one of the first new digital services being developed by the States in partnership with Agilisys Guernsey as part of the Smart Guernsey programme which should see a wider move towards improved, user-friendly, online public services.

Employment & Social Security has been working closely with the Primary Care Committee. A group of GPs at each practice have volunteered to be involved and issue digital medical certificates to patients who wish to take part.

Employment & Social Security president Michelle Le Clerc said she hoped the people offered the opportunity for digital medical certificates during the trial would take it up.

‘It will fast-track benefit claims and enable patients to send a digital version of the employer’s copy of the certificate to their place of work without delay,’ she said.

Primary Care Committee chairman Dr Paul Williams said GPs welcomed this opportunity to support the development of a digital medical certificate.

‘Not only will it support patients to claim their benefit more quickly, but employers will be informed about the reason for absence from work more quickly too,’ he said.

‘This digital version gives GPs more opportunity to provide employers with advice to support their staff back to work as quickly as possible.’

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The trial will go live in the coming weeks and employers can soon expect to receive the first of the digital certificates. During the trial, GPs, patients and employers will be invited to give feedback that will inform later versions.

Employment & Social Security medical adviser Dr Les Smith said: ‘Early intervention is one of the most important things that medical practitioners and employers can do to support people in work, or back to work, as quickly as possible. I’m delighted that this trial is going ahead as it will become one of the key tools to identifying early the opportunities to support people back to work.’

The States of Guernsey formally signed its contract with Agilisys in September, with a plan to spend around £200m. on a 10-year project of IT transformation.

The programme of securing a partner was known as Future Digital Service and, now that it is in place, it has allowed the Smart Guernsey programme of delivering digital solutions to begin in earnest. The next step, which is now getting under way in a number of service areas, is identifying where digital solutions can be introduced to improve efficiency and the quality of service for customers.

States of Guernsey chief executive Paul Whitfield said: ‘Getting our partnership with Agilisys in place was the beginning of a 10-year contract that will genuinely transform how we work and how we provide services. We’re still in the first few weeks of this partnership, but it’s great that very shortly we’ll see solutions being trialled.

‘Over the coming year, we will see more services beginning to develop this kind of digital solution. Our ultimate ambition is to improve how people can access our services and our own efficiency, and through that, deliver a better customer experience.’

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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