New System for Patients

On Thursday 3 December 2020 Thorpewood Medical Group will introduce eConsult. This new system is already used widely across the UK and will enable the practice to enable online access to the surgery. Following our CQC inspection, National and In house surveys, this will work towards ensuring that all patients whose conditions indicate that they need an appointment will be offered one.

To inform the Surgery of your concern or condition you will need to complete an online form from our Website and there will be no need to ring the surgery. With the exception of appointments for blood tests, nurse appointments and reviews of Long-Term Conditions, all appointments will be made using the new system; which is a slightly longer form that currently people use on our Website.

EConsult will be available on the practice website. You do not have to register to use it, just be one of our patients.  – From 06:00 on Thursday 3 Dec 2020.

To report your medical concern you will need to complete an online form. This form is called a health questionnaire and provides us with important information with regard to your current health. The system identifies and advises you if immediate or alternative medical intervention is needed, (Remember the surgery is not an emergency service). Once your completed questionnaire has been accepted it will be reviewed by our clinicians.

You will receive an immediate receipt from the Surgery that we got your form and a response from a Clinician within 24 hours.

For example:

  • If our clinicians decide that you need an appointment you would receive an email back from the address you provided, with instruction how to do this, such as phoning the surgery with a code. On some occasions, the GP will phone you back once they have been through your form, or even write back to you with an answer by email.
  • If you have requested a ‘Fit Note’, we could send you an email or text to let you know when this is ready for collection or even attach it to the E Mail or Text if this would be better for you.
  • If you have a minor illness the Doctor might E Mail you to advise you to visit your pharmacy in the first instance.

Key highlights of the new service:

  • You can use eConsult to submit a request at any time. (Forms are reviewed during normal Surgery hours)
  • There is no need to telephone the surgery. If an appointment is required, we contact you by the Email address you have provided, so you do not waste any time trying to get through to the practice on the phone
  • Completing the form does not require a password, only name and date of birth.
  • If you do not have internet access or cannot use the internet for whatever reason, you can telephone the practice and our Reception Team will assist. However, this may involve waiting on the telephone. It is more efficient for you to complete the form yourself or if needed, with family assistance.
  • If you do phone the Reception Team will urge you to use EConsult.
  • You will receive a response within 24 hours from Monday to Thursday, Forms received after later in the day on Fridays may not get a response until Monday.
  • People who need to be seen urgently will be prioritised and seen (Covid may affect this).
  • Patients, who need to be seen, will be seen. This is a GP Decision.

We appreciate that it will take time for you and ourselves to become familiar with using the new system, but please be reassured we are dedicated to improving the services and protecting the long-term future of the surgery.

We have done our best to answer as many questions as we can in the below document. We will also be holding patient events at the surgery, with social distancing and all wearing protective equipment, four people per occasion, so if interested please E Mail the Surgery E mail address and state you would like a coaching session. If you wish to ask questions in person and have a look to see how the system works, then please E Mail us. This will be run over the month of December for an hour per occasion.

Patients who wish to share feedback with us about eConsult can do so by emailing the Surgery email address.

If you have any concerns and want to share feedback about the changes with an independent Health organisation, you can also contact Healthwatch who is an independent body set up to shape and influence local NHS and social care services. Their contact details are  or telephone them on 01953 856029.

Many thanks for your support

Yours faithfully,

Andy Cutting
Practice Manager

Helpful info – Econsultation to Thorpewood

You might ask?

When will the Surgery triage each day and what if forms are submitted after that?

The Surgery will review received eConsults daily and advise the patient of the timescale for response determined by clinical need or Surgery protocol. The aim will be to contact all patients by the end of the day/next working day to let them know what the next steps are. A GP makes this decision.

Will all EConsults submitted for Children receive a call back?

All templates completed for children will be reviewed and all patients will receive a call back from a clinician.

If a GP says they want to see the patient in about a week, how does this work?

The Doctor will contact the patient directly on the E Mail details provided by the patient, explaining how the patient can arrange an appropriate appointment.

Can we have an IPAD, Tablet or computer in the Waiting room to complete forms?

Great Idea and yes you can. The reception has one in each Waiting Area at the reception desk. The team can show patients how to use ECon so that they can save a call to the Surgery. Patients can be shown how to use the service on their smartphones/tablets etc as well.

How are existing patients using the system in the country finding how it works for them?

85000+ eConsults are completed monthly. It is available to over 10 million patients, is very popular and improves patient access.

If starting a form and there is an internet error or my computer crashes, what do I do?

Unless the computer restarts at the same point as the crash, the process would need to be restarted. EConsults can also be submitted via a smartphone.

Can a patient with a complex condition see the same doctor?

The surgery will be able to navigate the eConsult to the most appropriate clinician including the patient’s usual GP, or a clinician with specialist knowledge on the problem within the surgery. Should the enquiry be urgent or the usual doctor on leave, the request will be passed to another clinician.

Do we have to register to use system on the surgery website and do I need a password? NO –

You need to be a patient registered with the Surgery to use one of our services. No other registration or login or password is required to access eConsult specifically. An email address is required though.

Can the Library computers be used to complete the form?

Yes! Any pc, tablet or smartphone can be used to access the service as long as it has an internet connection.

What if I have hearing difficulties?

The practice should have identified this patient concern within the medical records. Using the service and receiving a response would not be an issue. However, a phone call/video link may not be suitable for this patient. The surgery uses DA Language for these services and a suitable interpreter can be arranged.

When we receive calls back the Surgery number registers on our phones as Unknown, can this be changed?

We apologise, but this is not possible. This is for data & patient protection reasons.

I have to hand in my phone when I start work, so how can answer if you call me back?

An email answer will be a frequently used option and you can also ask for this on the free narrative part of the form, where it asks, “is there anything else you want to tell the Doctor”, on the form.

If I have a long-term condition and receive a letter to have a Nurse appointment, do I use eConsult? No.

Unless patients are directed to complete an eConsult they would contact the surgery as normal for nurse and blood test appointments.

If I do not need to use eConsult for a specific Nurse Appointment, when can I call the Surgery?

At any time and we recommended NOT between 0800 to 0900 hours as the Surgery receives most calls at this time.

Does this affect 111 and other out of hour’s services?


What if I have more than one condition to report?

EConsults are one condition only forms. So one condition = one E Consult.

What if I have no way of accessing this form or cannot use technology?

Speak to us and discuss this as vulnerable, homeless and patients who cannot use a computer nor have no internet can be triaged by our Care Navigators.

Tips on best use of the form:

  • Pain score = Do not exaggerate on the 1 to 10 section for pain. The system automatically knows after 1830 hours and weekends the Surgery is shut, so any scores on 7 or above out of hours, the system knows a Doctor will not see this the same day. You will be directed to other services. The Surgery is not an emergency service.
  • The form will take longer to complete than the form you use at the moment. You will ask yourself, why is it asking me this? Be aware that the system has been written by 26 Doctors and reviewed by them regularly. So the system will ask questions similar that the Doctor here would ask. This helps with time for our Doctors here when they receive the form. They will have more time to spend on solutions for you and less time needed to find out what the problems might be. So please persist with the form.
  • The System currently takes Covid into consideration, so you might be asked to stop the form completion and phone the Practice, call 111 or attend A&E. If you call the Surgery, please remember the question and answer you gave that prompted this.