Thanks to staff for online consultation drive
SSP Health Director, GP Dr Shikha Pitalia, is thanking staff for their hard work in promoting online consultation as an extra way for patients to access our services.
Almost all SSP practices have given patients the option of contacting their surgery online, with either e-consult or Online Consult tools now available.
This month, a survey of clinicians across SSP Health showed that the vast majority of GPs, ANPs and paramedics believe online consultations can be a useful addition to how treatment is carried out in surgeries.
Along with the huge increase in telephone consultations, online consultation can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, keeping staff and patients safer during the pandemic.
Follow-up forums with clinicians discussed how the new technology can best be used to improve healthcare and practice workloads and the right areas to use the new service.
It was agreed that patients need to be given the choice in all situations of whether to use online consultation and clinicians will have the option to employ it or not, using their professional judgement and working preference.
Dr Pitalia said: “The need for remote consultation was forced on primary care due to COVID-19, but our experience at SSP is that patients really like the way consultations have been carried out. This finding has been reflected in practices across the country.
“Online consultation is the logical extension of this and many patients are using it to great effect.
“Of course, it is not going to be the preferred choice for everyone and our patients will still be able to receive treatment from us in the traditional manner, as long as it is COVID safe.
“I want to thank staff for the flexibility they have shown in being able to offer this service to patients. We know some patients are having to be guided through the sign-up process, but once this is done I’m sure practices will see the benefit in improved efficiency.”
The latest surgery to offer online consultation is Shanti Medical Centre, the practice in Bolton which joined SSP Health earlier this month. Other practices without the facility are expected to be able to offer it soon.
Dr Pitalia added: “Online consultation is all about giving the patient choice. The digital tools are way to give them NHS-approved health information 24 hours a day, seven days a week and allow us to address their needs quicker.
“This is a learning process for everyone and we want feedback and thoughts from all our staff on how it is working in their particular area so we can adjust and refine the process.”