The overall demand for doctor’s appointment across the UK is continuing to increase. General Practice, like much of the NHS at present, is under unprecedented pressure for contact and support for patients. If you listen to the politicians the situation is particularly confusing. Some say the number of GPs is increasing whilst other say the number has fallen. Independent analysis is also confusing. However, whichever way you look at the number, the UK population is growing, on average we are living longer and need more visits to the Doctor.
If you have tried to book a routine appointment at the health centre, you will know that, like most UK surgeries, you will probably have to wait around two or three weeks. Urgent appointments can usually be booked on the same day.
In order to help address this issue, staff at the Health Centre have been looking for innovative ways of providing their patients with a choice of ways to engage with healthcare professionals that are more suited to out 24/7 life styles
Shephall Health Centre is now using eConsult. eConsult is an online consultation platform which means that you can use the platform at any time, even at the weekend. The system will take you through a series of questions related to your symptoms exactly as a doctor would in a face to face consultation. The system will also identify serious issues that require immediate attention and give instructions as to what you may need to do e.g. Dial 999
Under normal circumstances you will receive a reply by the end of the next working day. (A doctor or other healthcare professional may contact you for further information)
There are clear benefits for both Healthcare staff and patients. eConsult can help save time for the Health Centre staff – the average eConsult takes 2 or 3 minutes to read thanks to a succinct clinical report generated by the system. An average face to face session takes 10 plus minutes. This means that a doctor can help 3 patients in the time normally taken by one.
Patients benefit from a quicker response than a face to face appointment. Patients will save time by not having to visit the health centre and save any travel costs.
Next time you think you may need to see a doctor, why not give the system a try. Unlike the online appointment system, you do not need to get a username and password form the Health Centre. Simply log on to the system at https://shephallhealthcentre.webgp.com/ and follow the on-screen instructions