A new online service could revolutionise the way patients across Hull and East Riding get medical advice from their GP.
NHS Hull CCG and the East Riding of Yorkshire CCG are using digital technology to bring choice to patients who want to consult online, in many cases avoiding the need to make a visit to the practice altogether.
21 practices in Hull and 12 in the East Riding are trialling the service for 15 months. It comes after both CCGs successfully applied for funding from NHS England.
Patients who submit their symptoms online will get a response typically within 1-2 working days which could be advice, directed to other support such as the pharmacy or booked in for an appointment if necessary.
The service also offers around the clock NHS self-help information, signposting to services, and a symptom checker. Patients can also request prescriptions and test results, referral letters and medical reports.
Alex Seale, Director of Commissioning and Transformation at the East Riding of Yorkshire CCG said;
“This is good news for patients who can choose to use the service and get quicker access to health advice. GPs see the people who need their help most which could lead to shorter waiting times. It’s early days yet but so far results are encouraging and we’re hoping to see more people using the online service in the future.”
Amy, Nurse Consultant at Faith House Surgery in Hull said;
“We know that eConsult won’t be for everyone and it’s a cultural shift in how we access health services, but it offers a convenient choice for people saving time off work and a journey into the practice. Patients can now get advice and help much more quickly than they would if they waited for an appointment, which may not have been necessary in the first place.”
Mike, a patient from Hull said;
“I’ve found consulting with a GP online really encouraging. I’ve used it twice now and each time with a positive outcome. As promised, I received a call back the next working day from someone at the practice. Not only does it save me time, it saves me from having to make an appointment, thereby saving the appointment for another patient, whose needs may be far greater. The system can be used at any time of the day, it’s well laid out online and very easy to use. I would have no hesitation in recommending its use – it is clearly the way forward.”
To use eConsult patients simply visit their own GP Practice website.