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Frequently asked questions for patients


What is eConsult?

eConsult is a platform that allows you to seek self-help information from the NHS, through your GP Practice or surgery website. Services include self-help information, advice or help from local services which may be appropriate for your condition, such as self-referral services or help from your local pharmacy. eConsult also allows you to seek advice online from your own GP for your condition or if you need general or administrative advice.

How does eConsult work?

 eConsult asks you questions about your symptoms or existing condition, and only takes a few minutes to complete. After filling in some details about you, to verify who you are, your eConsult is sent to your GP Practice, so that they can help you. In having this information upfront, your Practice can then decide on the best course of action for helping you manage your symptoms and condition, and this may mean you don’t have to come into the surgery unnecessarily.

If your symptoms sound very serious, the system has been built with the clinical knowledge to know that you may need help more quickly than your Practice can provide - in these cases, it will stop you from completing your eConsult and suggest that you seek urgent medical advice.

Why use eConsult?

One of the key benefits of eConsult is that it is available at any time and from any device - meaning you can ask for advice from your GP without having to queue on the phone at 8am or wait weeks for an appointment you may not need. You can complete eConsult from the comfort of your own home, on a break at work, or on the train home. eConsults can be clinical or administrative in nature, and in most cases, your GP may not need to see you face-to-face for an appointment.

If you decide you want to manage your condition without contacting your Practice, eConsult can guide you towards trusted medical advice as well as relevant local services, such as pharmacy support, which may be more appropriate than visiting your GP Practice. The eConsult service can be trusted - it was built for NHS GPs by NHS GPs, and is the leading online consultation provider across the UK.

Who can use eConsult?

eConsult is available for anyone from the age of 18 years and over. eConsult is NOT available to children or young people to use below the age of 18 years (please telephone the surgery)

What can I use eConsult for?

eConsult is one of a range of services your GP Practice offers to make accessing the right help from general Practice easy. eConsults can be either administrative or medical (clinical)in need. eConsult can help you to manage your condition or symptoms by providing you with the best self-help information available, access to local services, or a convenient way to get help and advice from your GP Practice. Instead of having to wait weeks for an appointment or queue on the phone for hours, eConsult allows you to tell your Practice what you need help or treatment for, so that they can advise you on the best next steps, all at your convenience.

eConsult should not be used for emergencies

Should you report symptoms that our Clinical Governance team have deemed to require more urgent help than your GP Practice may be able to provide, your eConsult will be stopped. You will be advised that your eConsult will not be sent to your Practice, and that you should seek advice from the relevant urgent care service (e.g. A&E, Urgent Care Centre or NHS 111 helpline).

eConsult should not be used for repeat prescriptions

Your eConsult will be rejected if it is for requesting a repeat prescription – please use the online repeat prescription service instead

eConsults can also be used to follow-up on previous discussions or appointments you have had with your doctor. This means you can avoid having to make an appointment with the doctor, but you can still keep them informed of the outcome. In this way, you can tell your doctor the outcome in your own time, knowing that they will respond in the most appropriate way, even if this is just to thank you for keeping them updated.

How do I access eConsult?

 eConsult is available on our Practice website from any device and at any time of day. You will see a banner on your Practice’s website that invites you to contact your doctors online. Depending on the type of advice or help you then select, you will be presented with different options that may include an online form used to seek help or advice from your GP.

Can I submit an eConsult for someone else?

No, only the patient themself can submit an eConsult. If the person/patient has difficulty using the system, they must ring the Practice in the normal way.

What happens once I submit my eConsult?

Once you have submitted your eConsult online, you will receive a copy of the eConsult report via email. This email will also contain the unique reference number for your eConsult, should you need to speak to the Practice about any of the information in contains.The eConsult is sent to the Practice generic email address as a pdf document. This email inbox is monitored and processed by our trained administration staff, who will then direct the eConsult to the most appropriate member of the Practice team. Therefore, if it is a clinical matter it will be passed to the duty GP and if it is an administration matter it will be passed to the most appropriate member of the administrative team.

The Practice will aim to respond to your eConsult within two working days as a maximum.

If you submit an eConsult on Friday, the response time will be by the following Tuesday 6pm at the latest.

If you submit an eConsult over the weekend, please note it will not be processed until the surgery re-opens on Monday with a response time within two working days from then at the latest (Wednesday 6pm).

The Practice may respond in a variety of ways, based on the advised next steps or the medical need of the information you have provided:

  • You may be offered an appointment, either on the day or for a later date. This may not be with your GP but an other health professional at the Practice, depending on your query.
  • You may receive a phone call for you to speak to a health professional at the  Practice, this is because you may not need a face-to-face appointment to resolve your query. This will save you from having to come into the Practice.
  • You may be directed to another health professional outside of the Practice, as they may be best placed to offer you the advice or support you need. These may include local pharmacy support, a minor injuries unit or other services such as physiotherapy.
  • You may be directed towards the appropriate self-help advice by a member of the Practice.

We may call you back or leave a voicemail if we are unable to reach you. You may receive a brief text message or email with further information, however the message you receive in

this instance may not be sufficient to answer your eConsult …. this is to protect your privacyand safety, as we cannot discuss personal matters unless we are certain we are speaking to you/the patient.

How will I benefit from eConsult?

  • eConsult allows you to seek advice from your GP or help yourself to manage your condition or symptoms at all hours of the day, from wherever you are. This may be the same GP at the same Practice that you have been to for years, meaning they are familiar with your medical history and can continue to treat you.
  • The service will make interacting with your GP more convenient - you may not have to come into the Practice to get help, meaning you don’t have to take unnecessary days off from work or can stay at home if you feel poorly.
  • You won’t have to queue on the phone as soon as the Practice opens in order to get an appointment - you simply tell the Practice what you need help or advice for, and they will let you know if you need a face to face appointment, and how soon this needs to be.
  • If your problem might be treated without a face-to-face appointment, saving you a trip to your Practice. Instead your GP may call you to discuss the best next steps, send you for tests before a face-to-face appointment, or send your prescription to the local pharmacy to be collected.

Why are you making these changes?

As we’re sure you have read in the media, the NHS faces many concerns, and General Practice is a key part of ensuring patients get the best care. We need to do all we can to modernise and prepare for future challenges.

People are living longer and with more long term health problems that require more medical help and support. Patients are going to see their GP twice as many times each year as theywere 10 years ago. There is increasing difficulty for Practices to recruit and retain doctors or other staff to work in their surgeries and in the last few years, across the UK, many Practices have had to close down as a result of this.

Continually developing and modernising the way we work as a Practice will help us provide a high quality service to patients while ensuring that we remain a strong and sustainable medical Practice for the future so that this care can be provided to generations of families to come.

We believe that eConsult allows us to offer you more convenient access to information and advice. It helps us to deliver great care to our patients, allowing us to prioritise patients who need more urgent care or need to be seen face to face, whilst still enabling us to provide advice to patients who have a less urgent need for advice.

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