At Ernesettle Medical Centre we are trying a new approach to patient consultations called Shared Medical Appointments. We are doing this for a small group of patients, all of whom are living with long-term chronic pain.
A Shared Medical Appointment is when a group of patients have an appointment at the same time with a team of professionals including a GP, a health therapist and a member of the GP admin team. Patients may also see a pharmacist and a nurse. There will be no more than eight patients in the group and the Shared Medical Appointment will last for two hours.
Having a two-hour consultation as part of a group gives an opportunity to ask more questions than perhaps would otherwise happen in a normal consultation. Being part of a group also has the benefit of being able to listen to others who may have similar experiences and sharing hints and tips with each other.
What happens during a Shared Medical Appointment?
The Shared Medical Appointment is a relaxed and supportive group environment. Patients register at reception just as they would for any other appointment and are directed to the Shared Medical Appointment room and encouraged to make themselves comfortable. There will be refreshments available.
At the beginning of the appointment patients are invited to introduce themselves and to share any questions they want answered during the course of the session. Some patients may prefer to write their questions down or to let the attendee from the surgery’s GP admin team know just before the appointment begins.
Patients then take part in group discussions working through the questions with each other and the healthcare professionals. Once all the questions have been answered a healthcare professional will spend some time sharing information on a chosen topic which might, for instance, be about good nutrition, how to relax, side effects of medication. There will be a different topic at each Shared Medical Appointment, and these are chosen by patients.
The Shared Medical Appointment will finish with some gentle activity which may be chair based movement, relaxation, simple strength activity. Patients are encouraged to join in, and any activity will be suited to individual capability. If patients prefer not to take part in the gentle activity, then that is OK – it is entirely their choice.
There will be breaks during the shared medical appointment and refreshments will be available throughout.
The information sheet here gives some more detail about the shared medical appointments.
Taking part in Shared Medical Appointments
We have been given funding from an independent health charity [The Health Foundation] to enable us to try this new type of consultation. Part of the funding agreement is that we evaluate the impact that the Shared Medical Appointments have.
To do this, patients who take part will be supported to complete some simple surveys that will help us to understand the impact of the Shared Medical Appointments. The surveys we use are:
Patients who take part in the Shared Medical Appointments are also asked to sign a consent form and are given a privacy notice that explains how we will use personal data to evaluate this new type of consultation.
If you would like to know more about the chronic pain Shared Medical Appointments, or are interested in taking part, please contact us at Ernesettle Medical Centre using the contact form elsewhere on this website.