Recent News

Your NHS is here for you – GP practices in Devon provide reassurance they are still open
Mon, 27 Apr 2020

Doctors in Devon are reassuring local people that the NHS is still there for them if they are unwell and need help.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has warned that delays in getting treatment due to coronavirus fears pose a long term risk to people’s health.

The message comes as new findings that four in 10 people are too concerned about being a burden on the NHS to seek help from their GP. Clinicians are concerned that some people who would benefit from urgent medical help may not be receiving it. People may be worried about coming to hospitals at this time. However, precautionary measures are in place and there are real dangers in not seeking help for serious conditions.

Nearly all of Devon’s GP practices offer online consultations, which allow patients to access services from their smartphone, tablet or computer. All GP practices can now offer video consultations too.

Hospitals and GP practices across Devon have put in place special measures to protect patients and staff from COVID-19, whether they are treating a patient with symptoms of the virus, or for other illnesses. In many cases those affected by the virus are being seen in separate areas.

GP practices in Devon are setting up dedicated sites where patients who have, or may have, COVID-19 can be assessed and treated for the virus and other conditions.

Dr Alex Degan, a GP in Mid Devon and Primary Care Medical Director for Devon, said: “We are following national guidance about reducing unnecessary face-to-face contact, and this includes within healthcare settings. 

“If you need to see your GP, for example for back pain, arthritis or asthma, contact your practice via their website or by phone. Your consultation may be via phone, video or in person.

“We are working closely with GP practices across Devon to ensure that patients who need to be seen, can be seen safely, limiting exposure to staff and other patients. 

“Patients should continue to contact their practice in the normal way, online or by phone, and if they then need to be seen, it may be at another location rather than their normal practice.

“If you have been invited for routine immunisations, it’s important that you or your baby or child still come in for these. They protect against serious and potentially deadly illnesses and stop outbreaks in the community. I urge people to contact their practice and discuss with them the safest option to be seen.”

“Our message is simple – we are still here for you if you need help.”

People can continue to order repeat prescriptions on the NHS App and through their GP surgery or pharmacy’s online service, where available.  If you need to collect a prescription and have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating at home – please arrange for a friend, relative or volunteer to collect for you.

Dr Michael Marsh, South West Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement said: "There is capacity across South West to treat all those needing urgent and emergency care, and we want patients to continue to access services. While patients have rightly responded to the expert advice on staying at home, they should still seek medical help when they need it." 

“It’s important that people do not delay seeking help with serious time critical conditions, as this could result in poorer outcomes for their health further down the road.  

“People should continue to call 999 and attend the A&E Departments if they believe they have a serious illness, for example if they or a loved one see the signs of stroke, severe chest pain or worsening asthma. In addition, people can call their GP surgery if they are ill or have a health concern. 

“The NHS is pulling out all the stops to respond to the biggest global health threat in a century, while trying to ensure that people can still access the services they need in as safe a way as possible.” 

Mayflower Medical Group – eConsult FAQs
Fri, 21 Feb 2020

From February 24 the way we arrange GP appointments is changing. Instead of making appointments on request, we’ve introduced a system that will make it quicker and easier to get the help you need.

The new system – eConsult – allows you to tell us about your symptoms in a simple and convenient online form. We’ll then contact you by the end of the next working day to let you know the best course of action.

If you don’t want to fill out an eConsult form, you can phone your surgery and a patient advisor will ask some simple questions about your condition.

To help you understand eConsult – and the new appointment system – we’ve put together these FAQs. This list will be continually updated to respond to patient feedback on the system.

Does this change affect me?
This change applies to patients of all Mayflower Medical Group surgeries –  Ernesettle, Mount Gould, Trelawny, Collings Park and Stirling Road.

What is eConsult?
eConsult enables you to consult with a GP by providing information about your medical symptoms in a simple online form. All the information you provide is confidential and the eConsult ‘form’ only takes a few minutes to complete.

You can fill out an eConsult form on any device [computer, tablet or phone]. You don’t need to log in and there are no passwords to remember.

A clinician then uses these details – as well as your medical history – to decide the best course of action. We’ll then contact you by the end of the next working day to let know the next step.

How do I use eConsult?
The eConsult ‘window’ will automatically appear when you navigate to your surgery’s website homepage:

Ernesettle –
Mount Gould –
Trelawny –
Collings Park –
Stirling Road –

Then, simply follow the instructions. Depending on your responses, you may be asked to add some information about your condition and symptoms. It’s important to provide as many details as possible.

Or, you may choose to help yourself and get advice online.

You can also use eConsult to ask for repeat prescriptions, sick notes, and test results.

When you’re done, just submit the form.

What happens after I’ve submitted the form?
If you chose to get treatment and advice, your information is reviewed, and we’ll decide the best course of action. We’ll then get in touch that day, or by the end next working day [depending on when you submit your form], to let you know the next step.

For example:

  • If you need a to see a GP, they’ll arrange an appointment with you. This might be the same day, depending on how urgent your condition is.
  • If you have a minor ailment, we’ll give you a prescription or some appropriate advice [for example, to visit a pharmacy or information on how to treat yourself].
  • If you need another service [a physiotherapist, for example], you’ll be referred.
  • If your condition seems more serious, we’ll deal with you as a priority. This might mean directing you to the Minor Injuries Unit or Accident and Emergency.

If you submit your eConsult before 2pm [Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays] we’ll aim to contact you on the same day. If you submit it after 2pm, we’ll respond by the end of the next working day.

What if I can’t use eConsult, or don’t want to?
If you’re unable to use or access
eConsult, or don’t want to, you can still phone the surgery. The difference now is that a patient advisor will ask you some simple questions about your condition. These are the same questions you’d be asked during a GP appointment.

The information is reviewed by a clinician and we’ll get back to you by the end of the next working day.

If you want to fill out an eConsult form but don’t have a device or access the internet, there are tablet devices for you to use at the surgery.

Are there any exceptions?
Certain patients will need to continue to phone their surgery as they are currently doing. These are:

  • Patients have been asked to arrange an appointment after submitting an eConsult
  • Patients attending long-term conditions clinics.

Can I submit an eConsult for someone else?
Generally, patients should submit eConsults based on their own symptoms or conditions.

However, if you’re the parent or guardian of someone aged under 18, you can fill out the form for them. Likewise, if a friend or family member needs help filling out the form, you can do so, provided you have their consent.

Why is Mayflower Medical Group using eConsult?
The UK – and Plymouth in particular – is experiencing a shortage of GPs. This problem is exacerbated by patients failing to attend appointments and making GP appointments when another member of staff could deal with their problem or query.

As a result, our patients spend too long waiting for an appointment and too long on the phone waiting to book an appointment.

eConsult will allow us to make better use of GPs’ time and to prioritise your care if it’s needed more urgently. It also makes life easier for you.

How will eConsult make life easier for me?
Using eConsult will make it quicker and easier to get the help you need. It also allows us to make you a priority if you need more urgent care.

Completing an eConsult form could help you avoid unnecessary trips to the surgery – if an appointment is unnecessary.

You can log and fill out the details wherever you are, 24-hour a day – whether that’s at home, on the train or during a lunch break. You can also take as long as you want in filling out your details.

EConsult will also help people who might be embarrassed discussing their symptoms face to face.

Is this only affecting Mayflower Medical Group patients?
No, the NHS long-term plan commits all surgeries to change how patients access the surgery. This includes the use of digital tools, like eConsult.

Over 1,000 practices across the UK already use equivalent systems, and more than a million patients have submitted online consultation forms. In fact, most GP practices in Devon already offer online consultations.

What if my condition is life-threatening?
If you’re experiencing signs of a heart attack or stroke, severe breathing difficulties, heavy bleeding or severe injuries, you should dial 999 or 111.

  • 999 is for life-threatening emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke.
  • Dial 111 or go online [at] if you need medical help or advice fast, but it’s not life-threatening.

It’s important to note that, while you can fill out an eConsult form at any time, it doesn’t replace the NHS 111 out-of-hours service.