Sidcup Medical Centre

Key stats

  • Patient List size: 11,900
  • Launched: 28th November 2017
  • Model: telephone to online triage

Sidcup Medical Centre Case Study Key messages:

  • More efficient working and remote closure means increased work capacity – even with a growing list size, no new staff have been hired, and eConsults are responded to within two hours
  • Standardised questions asked through the eConsult have replaced inconsistent questions over the telephone – improving the history information available to GPs, allowing some patients to go straight to a physical examination
  • Both patients and doctors feel their experience of Sidcup Medical Centre has improved

Biggest single benefit of using eConsult: Patients can access advice from regular GP 24/7, including on the day and urgent appointments

Around a third of patients at Sidcup Medical Centre have been converted to eConsult, and we estimate we’ve saved around £40,000 in a year through better patient triaging, remote closure, and by having a patient’s history upfront. We didn’t want to solely create a new route for patients – we wanted to take pressure off our GPs and create a consistent history so that we have the same and right information for patients who come in for emergency appointments.

For the previous three years we’d been using a telephone triage model, but with increasing demand and the merger of two practices, our duty doctors were spending four hours a day taking patient histories. The level of detail in the history varied depending on the duty doctor who spoke to the patient, but eConsult means that now they’re consistent, and it’s done in the patient’s time. Our staff are now so good at reading eConsults that they can read them in about a minute and be prepared to ask the right questions when speaking to the patient.

“It has completely revolutionised the way we work. You’re looking at two hours per day clinical time saved. It makes life easier and access easier for patients, and makes us able to manage our workload in a much better way.” GP

We were worried that online consultation would increase our GPs workload and that our elderly population or those who couldn’t or wouldn’t go online would be left behind. Instead of adding patients to a telephone triage list, we’ve trained our receptionists to direct callers to the surgery website or help patients complete their eConsult over the phone when the patient can’t do it themselves.

“Quick turnaround to GP access when no appointments available” Patient

We’ve put posters in the surgery and a prominent banner on the website promise that if the eConsult is made between 08:00 and 17:00 Monday to Friday, the patient will get a response within two hours, which patients really appreciate.

"The speed at which my request was handled was impeccable and has ensured my symptoms have improved instead of progressing into something more serious. I also feel that by writing down a problem I feel I am more likely to get the whole picture across better than... a face to face consultation."

Patient, Sidcup Medical Centre, Bexley

"The speed at which my request was handled was impeccable and has ensured my symptoms have improved instead of progressing into something more serious. I also feel that by writing down a problem I feel I am more likely to get the whole picture across better than... a face to face consultation."

Patient, Sidcup Medical Centre, Bexley

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