NHS patients are to be diagnosed by” Chatbots “in North London as a trail. Patients are to type in their symptoms and the new Babylon app will do the rest!

The medical profession is raising concerns that the patients might miss describe their symptoms and the chatbots may be cheaper but what will be the cost of the miss diagnosis.

As a pharmacist by profession I wonder what ever happened to the “Ask your Pharmacist” Campaign, good old fashioned response to face to face consultations and response to both verbal and non- verbal symptoms which was “Free”!

In pharmacies, we do not always get it right either but we have the added advantage of knowing our regular patients, something which even GPs do not have the luxury of as the chances of seeing your own GP each time is now rare.

What is the true saving of reducing pharmacy funding and replacing GP consultations with 111 Chatbots? What is the knock-on effect? I fear that more pressure will be brought to bear on A and E. Some will use the new app I am sure but I cannot help feeling that the good old face to face consultation cannot be underestimated after all most communication is still non-verbal.

It would be interesting to carry out a trial which measures the outcomes from 111 Chatbot, Pharmacy, 111 “Non-Chatbot “and GP consultations when responding to the same symptoms.

It is about time more research is done so that the evidence can be reviewed.