Instead of phoning the surgery to make an appointment, you’ll be able to tell us about your symptoms online – through the practice website. This easy-to-use system – eConsult – will make it quicker and easier to get the help you need.
If you don’t access to the internet to fill out an eConsult, you can phone the surgery at any time. If that’s the case, a patient advisor will ask you about your symptoms and fill out an eConsult for you.
We’ll then get in touch to let you know the best course of action.
How does it work?
You can fill out an eConsult on any device (computer, tablet or phone) from 8am on Monday to 6pm on Friday. You don’t need to log in and there are no passwords to remember.
Simply go to www.devonporthealthcentre.co.uk (or search for ‘Devonport Health Centre’) and click on the eConsult ‘banner’ in the middle of our homepage.
You’ll then be asked to follow the instructions, which are essentially the same questions you’d be asked during a GP appointment.
It’s important you provide enough information about your condition to make sure your request isn’t delayed.
If you phone the surgery, a patient advisor will ask you the same questions and fill out the eConsult for you.
Once you’ve submitted the form, your information will be reviewed. We’ll then be in touch by 6pm on the next working day to let you know the next step.
This might be:
- An appointment with your GP or minor illness clinician (that day or later in the week)
- A video consultation with a GP (that day)
- Appropriate advice (for example, suggesting you visit a pharmacy or information on how to treat yourself)
- A referral to another service (a physiotherapist, for example).
If your symptoms are urgent, the eConsult system will highlight it and we’ll deal with you as a priority. We may also direct you to the Minor Injuries Unit or Accident and Emergency if your case is more serious.
It’s important to note that eConsult doesn’t replace the ‘111’ out-of-hours service (more details below).
Why are we making this change?
The UK is experiencing a shortage of GPs, and Plymouth is one of the worst-affected cities. This practice is losing the equivalent of 12 hours of GPs’ time every month due to people failing to attend appointments. Patients are also making GP appointments when other members of the team can deal with their problem or query.
This change will allow us to make better use of GPs’ precious time and make life easier for you.
It will also reduce the time it takes to get an appointment and cut down phone wait times. You’ll also avoid unnecessary trips to the surgery. Plus, you can log on to eConsult from the comfort of your own home and take as much time as you want in describing your symptoms. It will also help people who might be embarrassed to discuss their symptoms face to face.
Devonport Health Centre is not alone in making this change. More than 1,000 GP practices across the UK already use online consultations, and more than a million patients have submitted online consultations. In fact, most GP practices in Devon already offer online consultations.
What if my condition is life-threatening?
- 999 is for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, heart attacks or stroke.
- Call 111 or go online (at https://111.nhs.uk) if you need medical help or advice fast, but it’s not life-threatening
If you are unable to attend an appointment please ensure you telephone us at the earliest possible time (at least one hour before your appointment time) we can then offer the appointment to another patient. You can only cancel appointments by telephone or by using your online services account. We do not accept cancellations by any other method.
The practice has a high non attendance rate. It is frustrating when we are unable to offer appointments to some patients and we lose on average 10 hours of Doctors appointments and 30 hours of Nursing appointments each month due to non attendance.
The practice operates a policy where if a patient fails to attend three or more appointments they will not be able to book advance appointments with Doctors or Nurses. This will mean calling on the day you would like to be seen and if an appointment is still available it can be booked but they are on a first come first serviced basis and you may have to call back.