Moving to eConsult Only Access

Frequently Asked Questions

In line with the NHS England ‘Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care’ Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care ( we are moving to a total triage model for access to GP appointments.

What is an eConsult?

All GP practices must provide online consultation access for their patients. Our Integrated Care Board (Hampshire & IOW ICB) have chosen eConsult as the online consultation tool for use by GP practices. eConsult is a system which has inbuilt clinical safety mechanisms to ensure that patients are redirected to other services if the symptoms entered are suggestive of a serious or very urgent medical problem. This prevents a patient waiting for a response from the GP practice when they should be using urgent care services. If eConsult tells you to ring 111 or 999 please do as advised.

What if I can’t use eConsult?

We are aware that some patients do not have access to the internet or are unable to use this system for other reasons. We invite those who cannot use eConsult to phone the practice in the usual way. Our reception team are trained to ask you questions to complete an eConsult on your behalf.

I don’t want to tell the receptionist about my medical problem, why do I have to?

If you can complete an online eConsult please do so. This will enable you to tell us all the details about your medical problem without having to tell a receptionist. If you are genuinely unable to complete an online eConsult, our receptionist will do this for you. Our reception team are trained to gather the relevant medical information in a professional, sensitive and non-judgmental manner. Please be aware that all staff working within a GP practice must abide by the principles of patient confidentiality. This means that your personal information will be kept safe and only shared with the healthcare professionals who need to see it.

How can I get the most out of eConsult?

eConsult can be accessed via our practice website or on your smart phone. Please follow the instructions to find the most appropriate problem title for your symptoms- this is important as the questions the system asks you will only be relevant if you have chosen an appropriate problem title. Please provide us with as much detail as possible, and please answer the other questions as accurately as you can. For some conditions, such as skin moles and rashes, there is the option to add a photo to your eConsult. Please do so if you think this would help demonstrate your problem. All of this detail will enable our triage team to understand more fully your problem/symptoms/concerns and will help us in suggesting the most appropriate timescale and healthcare professional to meet your needs.

Why can’t I just book a GP appointment?

Unfortunately, the demand for GP appointments continues to exceed the capacity that we have. We are lucky enough to have a good number of GPs working at the practice, but even so, the demand is such that we have to rationalise the available GP appointments to those who need them. Our GPs are now supported by a range of other healthcare professionals, and so we triage the information/query/medical problem as stated by the patient in the eConsult to the most suitable healthcare professional for their need.

What is triage?

‘Triage’ is the preliminary assessment of patients in order to determine the urgency of their need for treatment or assessment and the nature of treatment or assessment required. This means we will use the information you have told us in your eConsult to decide how quickly we need to contact you or see you for your problem and who would be the best healthcare professional for your needs.

Who is doing the triage of my eConsult?

We have expanded our triage team which is led by the Duty GP and supported by a care co-ordinator (an administrative assistant). We also have nurses and paramedics who work within the team. The triage team will review the information you have provided in your eConsult and you will be contacted as to the suggested outcome.

What happens next after I submit my eConsult?

Your eConsult will be triaged on the same day and you will be contacted to be advised of the suggested plan. These are examples of possible outcomes:

For some patients, the Duty GP may be able to offer you advice or a prescription for treatment based on your eConsult. If so, you may be contacted by text message, or our Duty GP or care co-ordinator may ring you on the day.

Patients who need an urgent appointment will be offered a same day consultation with a suitable clinician (telephone or in person, as deemed necessary from triage)- our care co-ordinator will usually contact you by telephone on the day to arrange the appointment. If you think your problem will need a same day appointment, please be prepared to come.

Patients who need a routine GP appointment will be sent a text message with a ‘self-book’ link (which enables you to choose a convenient appointment) or our care co-ordinator will ring to book this for you.

Some patients may need a blood test, either to assess their problem or to assist the GP prior to their routine appointment. We will either send a text message with a ‘self-book’ link, or our care co-ordinator will ring to book this for you.

You may be offered an appointment with one of our other healthcare professionals (see below). If so, you may be set a text message with a ‘self-book’ link, or advised that the relevant team will contact you, or our care co-ordinator may ring you to book this.

Patients who are housebound due to the nature of their medical problems will be seen at home by our Home Visiting Service (a team of advanced nurses and paramedics). One of our triage team will confirm this with you (or your carer).  If requesting a home visit, please contact us as early as possible on the day, and by midday at the latest.

Some patients may need referral to another service: in particular, you may be referred to the Community Pharmacist if the triage team find that your medical problem is suitable for their assessment and treatment. You will be advised of this by text message, or our care co-ordinator will ring you.

Why is it not always possible for me to see my usual GP?

All of our patients have an allocated ‘usual GP’ which we use for administrative purposes. Currently, we have 7 GPs who carry a patient list. We are also supported by 2 additional GPs and we are a training practice with 4 GP trainees (these are qualified doctors who are training to be GPs). If a GP appointment is needed, it is not possible for all patients to see their usual GP every time. We always try to maintain continuity of care with the usual GP when this is required (we recognise the benefits of this for both patient and GP) but there may be times where this is not feasible. Be assured that we work closely as a team, and the GP you see will be able to communicate with your usual GP if this is required.

What if I disagree with the outcome of the triage of my eConsult?

Our triage team will always do their best to recommend the most suitable disposition for the problem you have described in your eConsult. If you feel that the outcome does not meet your needs, please contact us to let us know, either via eConsult or by contacting our reception team. This will give you the opportunity to tell us any other detail about your problem that you think we need to know, and give us the opportunity to review your information again. Whilst we will try to meet your expectations, we must use our available resources wisely to ensure we offer what is clinically needed so that we can meet our duty of care to you and all of our patients.

What time is eConsult available?

The link to eConsult is available Monday to Friday 7am to 4pm. We have chosen these times to try and enable fair and reasonable access for our patients, whilst also considering our ability to meet demand and deliver our aim to ensure that all eConsults received are triaged on the same day. We ask that you submit your eConsult as early in the day as possible if you believe your problem to be of an urgent nature, which gives us more opportunity to arrange to see you on the day if this is needed following triage. After 4pm, when eConsult is switched off for the day, we would ask that you wait until the next day to submit a non-urgent eConsult. If you find that you have a problem which you believe to be urgent after 4pm, please ring and speak to our reception team who will be able to help you by completing an eConsult on your behalf.

What types of healthcare professional work at the practice and what do they do?

We are pleased to have a team of additional healthcare professionals who work within our practice and the 3 other member practices of Fareham & Portchester Primary Care Network.

Clinical Pharmacist team: blood pressure management, medication side effects, statin medications, bone protection medications, medication reviews, medication compliance, issues with medications being unavailable

First Contact Musculoskeletal Practitioner: assess and manage any patient with a new problem relating to joints or muscles

Paramedics: same day urgent care for children and adults, home visits for housebound patients

Social Prescribers: help with non-medical aspects of patient’s lives which impact on their health. They can provide advice and signposting.

Can I still book blood tests and nurse appointments?

Yes, you can still book a blood test appointment (as long as this has been requested by a healthcare professional at the practice, or you have a hospital form) by ringing to speak to our reception team. Also, you can still book practice nurse appointments for reasons such as wound dressings or removal of stitches.

How do I get my chronic disease review?

This includes patients who have the following conditions:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease (angina or heart attack)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (TIA or stroke)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Asthma*
  • COPD*

For our patients who live with a chronic disease, we will continue to invite you for your annual review. Your invitation will be during you BIRTH MONTH and if you have more than one chronic disease, we will, whenever possible (*this may not be possible for respiratory conditions), aim to provide a holistic review of all of your conditions at one single appointment with our practice nurse team. For some conditions this appointment will include a blood test. Further follow up (with a GP, nurse specialist or clinical pharmacist) may be required after your chronic disease review.

Patients who are housebound will be seen at home by a member of our home visiting team: this will be arranged with you or your carer in advance.