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As lockdown measures ease and we learn to adapt to a ‘new normal’ in our personal and professional lives, we can take a step back and consider some of the lessons we have learned during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

With local lockdowns and further waves likely over the next 12-18 months, how we can ensure we are better prepared in the future?  

Technology has played a pivotal role in the response to COVID-19 – enabling an almost overnight digital transformation of NHS services from face-to-face to remote and virtual. This has been particularly marked in primary care, where online, telephone and video consultations are now the new normal.  

This rapid transformation was possible due a number of linked factors. 

Firstly, there have been many years of investment in interoperable electronic medical record systems in primary care which deliver NHS services such as the electronic prescriptions service, along with the development of online patient services such as Patient Access. These systems have underpinned the safe, digital delivery of primary care.