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 – https://ernesettle.accesshealthanddental.co.uk/
Mount Gould – https://mount-gould.accesshealthanddental.co.uk/
Trelawny – https://trelawny.accesshealthanddental.co.uk/
Collings Park – https://collings-park.accesshealthanddental.co.uk/
Stirling Road – https://stirling-road.accesshealthanddental.co.uk/
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.
- 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 https://111.nhs.uk] 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.