Since April 2020 the practice has been offering patients eConsults as a way to get advice from their GP or surgery.
Remember that eConsults take up GPs valuable time, so patients need to use them wisely.
The practice aims to have a GP who knows the patient and sees them regularly, respond to their eConsult offering advice.
The condition should not be urgent as the practice will respond in 48 hours on a week day, although it will be longer at the weekend.
There are several possible outcomes for a patient after they have sent an eConsult:
- In the case of a minor illness, such as a cough or cold, the patient could be given self-care advice or a sent a text to advise a visit to a pharmacy
- If from the patient’s answers it is an emergency they will be directed to 111 or A&E
- They could get advice from the GP or practice by email
- A prescription or fit note could be arranged
- They may be asked to contact the surgery to arrange a telephone consultation as the GP needs more information
From our experience of the first 6 months of eConsults, here are some tips about when this is a useful way to contact your GP surgery:
- Patients who have 1 problem that it is easy to describe/ photograph
- Patients that are good at using IT
- eConsults are better for patients who find it more convenient not to attend the surgery or speak to a GP
Conditions that are good for eConsults are:
- Skin conditions if photos are sent
- Fit note requests which are a repeat or the result of a hospital admission
- Requests for previous medications for previous conditions where patient is sure of diagnosis – migraine/dizziness/acne/otitis externa
- Musculoskeletal problems
eConsults do not work well for:
- When the patent feels that they have an urgent problem
- If a patient wants to speak to a GP
- When the patient has several problems they want to discuss with the GP – A telephone consultation is better
- When a third party is completing the eConsult (except if parent of a child )
- Cardiac (heart) or Respiratory (lung) conditions
- When the patient has a new lump or change especially; breast, testicular or genital area
- Children < 2 years old with an acute problem
- A patient with a mental health problem