CCGs across Devon are aiming for all patients in the county to have access to GP e-consultations by the end of the year.
Following a deal between NHS England, NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG and NHS South Devon and Torbay CCG with online consultation provider eConsult, some 550,000 patients now have access to the new technology.
Patients can fill out a form on their practice’s website stating their symptoms, which will be reviewed by a GP and they will receive a response within one working day.
Self-help tools available in the service also includes symptom-checkers, instructive video content created by GPs, and advice about the various places a patient can get help, including pharmacies, the NHS 111 helpline or an available app.
Dr John McCormick, chief clinical information officer for Devon’s CCGs, said: ‘eConsult is a new way of being able to contact your GP and get medical advice from your practice. You go onto your practice website and it’s right there in the centre of the website.’
He added: ‘We have piloted this system in several practices and it has proved hugely beneficial for patients and practices. This is because patients are getting quicker access to health advice, which in turn means that those who need to see a GP can get an appointment more quickly.
‘When a patient completes an online form about their condition, a GP will get in touch with the patient to give advice, offer an appointment if needed, or issue a prescription.’