Needham Market Country Practice

eConsult Case Study

Key stats

  • Patient List size: 12,500
  • Launched 13rd August 2018
  • Model: Routine clinic

Key messages:

  • Stop telling patients to call back tomorrow and tell them it’s much easier and faster to use eConsult – them calling back tomorrow only puts off the work.
  • As a practice you need to be proactive – reminding patients about the service, reviewing your numbers and aiming to help more people with the service this week than you did last week.
  • Get all the staff to use the demo site to understand what patients can use eConsult for and how the process works – if they know it, and can see the benefits they can advocate to others.

Biggest single benefit of eConsult: eConsult allows us at Needham Market Country Practice to better manage workloads – we can redirect work from the phone line to eConsult and then assign it to dedicated slots at a time that suits us.

One of the key things about eConsult, as with any other service, is to be proactive and keep reminding patients to ensure they use it. Every patient that rings Needham Market Country Practice and can’t get an appointment is signposted towards eConsult. We’re a big practice and we don’t want to create additional work – we want the work we have to be more manageable.

As the Practice Manager I want to make sure we are always striving to improve. I have a tracker where I note our weekly eConsult numbers and share our improvements with the team. It’s great motivation and rewarding to see our usage growing. All the team have been up-skilled so that they understand exactly how use eConsult and what happens after a patient has submitted one. We even have a community volunteer patient that comes in for two hours a week to show patients how to use eConsult.

“We’ve stopped telling patients to call back later or tomorrow and now tell them to use eConsult. Otherwise we’re only pushing back work instead of making it more manageable. For patients that work, eConsult must be a godsend and I wish my registered surgery used it.”

Practice Manager

We have tablets in reception that we use to show patients how to use eConsult, so that they can do the next one from home. They can use the demo site to see the whole process without having to input their own details. We’ve also got leaflets and cards that the phlebotomists and nurses hand out to tell patients to request their blood tests through eConsult.

It’s reassuring to see that our patients want to use the templates for children too. As a parent I know how often you wonder if your child needs to see a doctor, so the ability to use eConsult to make sure is great. In particular for ongoing conditions like eczema, where they can upload photos and then the clinicians can decide what to do next.

“Having a long term health condition and lack of mobility when my condition flares up it is easy to get quick advice and treatment started without trying to get to the practice or a GP coming to my home.”


We send patients to the eConsult self-help information too because it’s NHS content so we know we can trust it – especially if the patient is asking about something like a verruca that a doctor doesn’t need to see!

The service was efficient and less time consuming than visiting the surgery and obviously safer due to the coronavirus

Patient, Needham Market Country Practice, Ipswich

You don't have to take up an appointment if it's nothing major and the Doctor will get back to you normally very quickly.

Patient, Needham Market Country Practice, Ipswich

I didn't need to have face to face consultation with a doctor, I was able to send photos of my condition to the practice nurse who advised me. I felt reassured about my condition and will use eConsult again if my condition changes.

Patient, Needham Market Country Practice, Ipswich

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