What are online consultations?
An online consultation is a quick, convenient and secure way to contact a GP practice and get advice over the internet, without having to wait on the phone or take time out to visit the practice.
What will happen during an online consultation?
The type of online consultation patients will receive will depend on their GP practice. Most GP practices will ask their patients to complete a short form online via their website or through the Patient Access app which is available on the phone app stores Patient Access App for IOS
, Patient Access App for Android
The online process will guide a patient through a series of questions to enable practice staff to make an informed decision.
The system will also look to answer a query by promptly providing helpful information and videos saving the patient time.
Does this mean patients will no longer be offered face to face appointments?
No. The online consultation system gives a patient the option to access their practice’s services remotely. Patients can still choose to see a member of the practice staff in person if clinically necessary.
What happens next following submission of the online consultation form?
However, given current COVID-19 guidance to NHS services and the public the majority of activity is being managed first online or by telephone consultation. Where a face to face appointment is required it is likely to be in the form of a video consultation. Practices will give clear instructions to patients on how to use this service where it is felt clinically necessary to use a video consultation. Practices are following national guidance on work that is essential to maintain public health and that which may be delayed safely.
Patients should anticipate being contacted by their practice by telephone or video, this may show as a call from an unknown number. Practices are using a range of video consultation products, including but not limited to Zoom and AccuRX.
GP surgeries will aim to respond to a submitted online consultation form within two working days.
This could take the form of one of the following:
- A text message back to the patient with guidance on next steps e.g. self-care, issuing a prescription or notification of a forward referral/signposting to another service.
- A telephone conversation
- A video consultation
- Face to face appointment