Fancy a Skype chat with your GP?

Doctor and patient meeting in an office

Patients could speak with GPs via Skype, under a 250 million plan announced by Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg yesterday.

The move would see existing phone appointments complemented by video calls between doctors and patients, which Clegg said could be used to treat minor ailments or discuss progress updates.

The cash required to support the project would be raised from a sale of what the party sees as "redundant" NHS land assets.

Clegg, who visited Bodmin Community Hospital in Cornwall to make the announcement, said: "The NHS doesn't need warm words, it needs hard cash.

"We have a plan to introduce modern technology that will help patients, with more doctors' appointments and repeat prescriptions at the touch of a button."

A Liberal Democrats statement added: "The money will be used to make more doctor appointments and repeat prescriptions available online.

"It will also improve GP access by encouraging more patients to contact their doctors by Skype."

The party has promised to spend an extra 8 billion a year on the NHS if it comes to power after May's general election.

Video calls could help improve patient access to GPs, a notion also put forward by Tory leader David Cameron a year ago.

According to the last GP Survey in 2013-14, 15 per cent of people trying to make an appointment to see their GP were unable to get one.

The news comes as NHS trusts take on modern technology such as the cloud to improve patient experience.

For instance, Humber NHS Foundation Trust has signed a two-year deal with BT and TotalMobile to give healthcare workers access to patient details on the move.