Monthly Archives: May 2020

eConsult and COVID

If you’re reading this you’re likely to have had to get rid of that pesky blue window titled eConsult.  It’s one of the many changes we’ve implemented to help us more effectively since COVID arose.  See last update for details.  It was in fact always planned but the rationale for it is stronger than ever.

What is eConsult?


Pros and Cons: Why do it?

The positives are that it enables you to submit a request for help/advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will be asked the vast majority of questions a doctor would ask.  We get this information sent electronically within minutes after you submit.  The questions are thorough and cover areas we sometimes hurry over when under pressure.  We are still learning to navigate this information but are rapidly finding we can quickly determine the next steps and contact you by text/telephone or video to take things further.  We will rarely bring you to the surgery before theses steps due to COVID but at some point would obviously consider this an automatic outcome as well.  Because of the detail in the requests we are able to respond correctly first time and when needed ensure you see the right person first time.  We are currently responding to these the same working day for submissions before midday.  We plan to respond within 2 hours.  To do this we need to increase the proportion of requests we get. National evidence suggests about 70% of requests can come like this and because of the efficiencies significantly increase the capacity in a practice so we have more time with the people who need it and fare less wasted journeys by people coming to see us who we can support at home/work.  As a consequence we will be asking you with increasing vigor to make your requests for appointments/support via eConsult.

We appreciate this is a big change for many (including us), takes some time for people to fill in the forms and the stress of navigating yet another website.  Our commitment to you in making this change is that we will be more responsive and effective in meeting your needs and our reception will have more time to offer you help and less time responding to your requests with a “no, we’re fully booked” – it makes me feel sick just writing those words as a GP and a patient!

“It’s not the same” /”I want to see someone in person”

We feel the same!  Right now face to face care is obviously only appropriate when we can be sure the risks to you and us of COVID are mitigated.  We’ve found video consulting great but the whole clinical team has commented at some point how great it can be to see our patients face to face and the added value this can bring.  We will continue to do this but right now we will only do this when there is a clear medical indication to do so.

Your practice… Your service

When you use eConsult you get offered the chance to feedback on it.  So far the feedback has been limited (approx 10/<5% users) but has been universally positive.  Please provide more so we can make things better.  In the next month or so we will send our a survey to see how we can improve things further.

Thanks for your support and working with us to help provide you the best service we can.

Dr Robert McLaren

on behalf of the whole team at Park Medical Centre