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Downgrades to A&E may lead to Skype diagnoses

Proposals by Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group to close and downgrade A&E departments could force doctors to diagnose and treat patients via internet video call, reports The Mail on Sunday.

Under plans claimed to have been seen by the paper, patients suffering from potentially serious symptoms such as chest and abdominal pains, pneumonia and fractures will be sent to walk-in centres to see GPs rather than go to casualty wards. But because the centres are staffed by less qualified medics, advice could come from specialist colleagues at a separate A&E ward using Skype calls, it suggests.

The proposal is said to be among those being considered by Shropshire CCG, which wants to centralise emergency services in the region.