eConsult

Portesham Surgery has added an online consultation facility to our range of services. 

Please click here to start a consultation: 

What is eConsult? It is the new alternative to telephoning us with a query. It means you can contact us from home without queuing on the phone or waiting until we open at 8.30 on Mondays. You will be asked a set of questions which will give us detailed and accurate information on your query so we can direct it to the best team (which could be clinical or administrative). We will answer your query within 48 hours.

For example if you need to consult with a GP sooner than our next available appointment, we will ask you to complete an e-consultation to give our GPs a full picture of your problem.  Our GPs will review the consultation and you will be contacted at least by the end of the next working day, if not sooner.

Note that if you think you may have difficulty with an online consultation don’t worry, our reception team will still assist you over the telephone as normal, or for complex queries we will complete the eConsult process on your behalf.

This short video gives you an overview of eConsult:

Frequently Asked Questions

How does eConsult work?

eConsult asks you questions about your symptoms or existing condition, and only takes a few minutes to complete. Your eConsult is then sent to our reception team who will direct your query to the duty GP or medical secretary as appropriate.

You can give us more detailed information than in a phone call with a busy receptionist – you can even attach a photograph if appropriate, for example of a rash or insect bite. This means the GP can get straight on with sorting out a solution without always having to ring you back for further information. This may mean you don’t have to come into the surgery for an appointment unnecessarily, which is particularly useful at the moment with the Coronavirus circulating.

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.

What can I use eConsult for?

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.

eConsults can also be used to follow-up on previous discussions or appointments you have had with your doctor. 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.

eConsult should not be used for emergencies. Should you report symptoms that suggest a more urgent problem 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).

If your problem could be solved by over-the-counter treatments available from Pharmacies you will be advised of this during the eConsult process, and similarly if you simply want reliable on-line advice without bothering your GP you can do this through eConsult.

If your query is inappropriate for eConsult – for example if you need urgent treatment and we are closed – you will be directed to an emergency service such as an Accident and Emergency centre.

What happens after I’ve sent 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 it contains.  The information provided on the eConsult will be used to prioritise your query and once the duty doctor has reviewed it, we will respond to you (by the end of the next working day, if not sooner) with the same range of options as now, such as:

  • calling you in for a same-day urgent appointment,
  • making you an appointment for blood tests before a review,
  • booking you a routine appointment,
  • arranging a telephone consultation,
  • issuing you with a new prescription
  • sending advice electronically via the eConsult messaging system. 
  • Administrative queries (such as requesting a Fit Note or advice on your referral) can also be dealt with through an eConsult.  

Why have you introduced this?

All GP practices in the UK are introducing some form of electronic consultation service in response to the pressure on GP services. The reason is two-fold:

  • eConsult responds to the modern 24/7 world we live in today. It’s a safe alternative to telephoning and means you can contact us when you think of your query, at any time of day or night. If your symptoms are more urgent you will be redirected appropriately. You have a record of your query and will get a response from us within 48 hours.
  • eConsult will help 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. 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 they were 10 years ago. Practices throughout the country face problems recruiting and retaining doctors and other staff, and in the last few years across the UK, many practices have had to close down as a result of this.  eConsult is part of the NHS’ long-term strategy to ensure that you still have a local GP practice to turn to for generations to come.

How does it benefit me?

  •  if you do need to be seen, your GP will already have detailed information provided by you through eConsult, instead of our receptionists quizzing you in a way you might find intrusive;
  • you can make contact at a time to suit you, including in the middle of the night, and on any device, from home, on the train, or during a break at work;
  • you may not need to come into the surgery for an appointment, or even to wait by your phone for a telephone consultation, since for simple enquiries your GP can respond electronically to your eConsult could save you taking time off work or allow you to stay at home if you feel poorly.
  • you can send the eConsult at a time to suit you rather than waiting until 8.30am or queuing on the phone to talk to a receptionist.
  • you can attach a photograph to the eConsult (for example of a rash or insect bite)

How will the practice benefit from eConsult?

  • Patients with the most urgent issues will be identified quickly and offered appointments earlier than the current system allows. This is because we will already have an idea of what you might need help for. 
  • Your GP may not be the most appropriate person to see – eConsult helps us to know what you might need help for, so that you can see the right member of staff for the help you need the first time around.
  • We can then offer appointments in the practice to those who need them most urgently, or are available to make visits to elderly patients at home or in care homes.

Can I use eConsult for my child? 

eConsult is available for anyone from the age of 6 months and up. Parents or guardians can complete eConsults for children aged 6 months up to 18 years of age, although 16 to 18 year olds can also complete eConsults for themselves. There is no upper age limit for eConsults. As a parent or guardian of a child between the ages of 6 months to 18 years, you will be able to submit eConsults about a limited list of symptoms or conditions. For all other matters relating to children please call our reception team as normal.

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