The Minister for Health and Social Care says that a centralised booking system for GPs is not feasible at present.

Lawrie Hooper said that this is because GP practices manage their own appointments.

He said that he thinks that the model needs to change, as the current model has ‘lots of independent bodies spread around the island, not necessarily working all together and cohesively’.

According to the minister, progress is being made in this area.

Mr Hooper (pictured) made this announcement in the House of Keys this week.

He was asked what consideration has been given to creating a central electronic GP appointment booking service and to increasing the use of self-referral for certain services, as well as what progress has been made on social casual by Douglas North MHK and former Health Minister David Ashford.

Mr Hooper said that all of the GP practices have online booking systems, although it was not centralised.

He said: ‘All the practices offer a varying number of appointments and different types online, but actually having online booking is something that can work with the current model.’

He added: ‘It doesn’t require a centralised, single booking system in order to do that.

‘Turning to self-referral, there are a number of self referral services already in place across Manx Care which allows direct access to services without requiring a GP referral.

‘These include community adult therapies, the community wellbeing service, wellbeing partnerships and local area coordination, social work, hearing loss and audiology, sexual health and family planning.

‘Planned expansion of wellbeing partnerships to the eastern locality during 2023/2024 will see the single point of access that is currently offered by the northern western and southern partnerships become available for the whole island.

‘The wellbeing partnerships provide access to a large number of community health and care services including community therapies, social work, social care, such as re-ablement, and community support, as well as some third sector services such as Live at Home, Southern Befrienders, Hospice and the Jurby and northern communities initiative.’