Paediatric eConsults

Paediatric condition templates are available for all practices at no additional cost. You can see what these look like on the eConsult demo site:

Parents or guardians are able to submit paediatric eConsults for children aged 6 months up to 18 years. Patients aged 16 and 17 years are able to access the adult content and submit eConsults directly. It is not possible for parents to submit eConsults for patients below the age of 6 months for safety reasons – these patients should be seen by a clinician.

Accessing eConsult for children

Most practices using eConsult have the paediatric questions enabled by default. Patients can access these questionnaires by clicking on the ‘I want help for my child’ option, either through the practice’s website banner or on the main eConsult landing page.

eConsult landing page showing response options.
Patients need to select the ‘I want help for my child’ option

From there, the patient or the parent/guardian can access the full range of paediatric eConsults. These should be completed as with the adult questionnaires, taking into consideration that questions will be asked about the child as well as the person completing the information on their behalf.

Paediatric eConsult options.

Processing Paediatric eConsults

Historically, guidance from the Medical Defence Organisations has stated that all paediatric eConsults require a phone call as a minimum to close the encounter. This ensures that the clinician is satisfied with the history provided by the parent or guardian, enabling an informed management decision about the child. Some cases may also require a face to face appointment following review of the submitted eConsult.

We sought guidance from Clinical Negligence Scheme in December 2020 and they confirmed that there is no longer a requirement to close paediatric consultations with a face to face or telephone consultation as part of the indemnity that covers eConsult. However, we would still consider it good practice to do so.

The one-way messaging facility (Post Consult Messaging) can be used to respond to the patient, parent or guardian around next steps, for example using the options below to ask them to contact the surgery or letting them know you tried to call them (write your own message).

Response options in post consult message
Response options through the Post Consult Message feature

If your practice has an extended clinical response time beyond ‘the end of the next working day’ then due to clinical risk paediatric eConsults are not available.

Photo uploads for Paediatric eConsults

Some paediatric templates allow patients, parents or guardians to upload photos to assist the clinician in understanding the patient’s request for advice. We ask the user for consent at the point of uploading. All photo upload questions are optional and do not need to be completed by the user.

Under data protection law, the practice is the Data Controller, therefore any images received and uploaded into the clinical record will fall under the practice information governance and GDPR policies. eConsult doesn’t store or retain any of these images.

Indemnity and safety

The Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP) covers activities which are commissioned under a GMS, PMS or APMS contract (or related enhanced primary care elements under an NHS Standard Contract), and where a provider provides services directly or under a sub-contract.

The scheme coverage extends to nurses/ANPs and other practice staff who are carrying out activities in connection with the delivery of primary medical services. The location of the services being provided and whether they are digital or face-to-face will not affect the cover.

The services/consultations must be being provided via a GMS/PMS/APMS contract and the consultations themselves must be connected to the diagnosis, care or treatment of a patient.

All of our templates are created by a range of clinicians and content is approved through our Clinical Governance process, designed in line with DCI0129 requirements. The team meets regularly, led by our Medical Director and Clinical Lead for Urgent and Emergency Care. This allows for a multidisciplinary team approach that focuses on both clinical and patient safety.