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Software which could cut need for face-to-face GP appointments coming to Shropshire

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

New software which could cut out the need for face-to-face GP appointments will be rolled out across Shropshire CCG practices by next March.

Online GP consultations have been introduced at some GP practices in the county by NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The eConsult software could save patients a trip to their GP and point them in the right direction for care. It will also ease pressure on GP practices by cutting the need for face-to-face appointments.

Seven GP practices in Shropshire are now working with the eConsult software with more planning to roll it out within the next few months.

The practices using eConsult are Bishops Castle, Marden, Westbury, Station Drive, Ludlow, Plas Ffynnon, Much Wenlock and Church Stretton.

Ten other practices are currently working towards going live with eConsult.

Dr Julian Povey, chair for NHS Shropshire CCG, said: “The online GP consultation scheme is both beneficial to patients and also to GPs.

“The software will help patients choose where they need to go for their care, giving them the medical advice they require and it could also save them a visit to their GP.

Form

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“GPs will also benefit because it has shown that the online consultations have reduced the need for face-to-face appointments.”

The online GP consultation can prioritise those patients in need and improve access for patients by letting them tell GPs their symptoms at a time which suits them.

Consultation times can also be cut with the average eConsult closing within two to three minutes and 70 per cent of eConsults are completed without the need for a face-to-face appointment.

Patients choosing to eConsult with their GP simply fill out an online form. This then captures the symptoms associated with more than 100 common clinical conditions, as well as details for requests such as sick notes.

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eConsult also alerts patients to signs of more serious symptoms that require immediate medical intervention and advise them where best to get help.

The completed patient information is then emailed to the practice and the practice’s administration team adds any relevant eConsults into the workflow of a GP.

The software is fully funded by NHS England for GP practices to use.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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