Willow Group, Gosport

Key stats

  • Patient List size: 39,000
  • Launched: 12th March 2018
  • Model: Routine Clinic

Key messages:

  • We sell eConsult to patients as another way to get advice from your GP – if their first experience is positive and you explain it to them, they’ll keep coming back
  • Our clinical team is diverse, so our care navigators have learned which eConsults to send to different teams – it means our GP time is protected
  • Having a good process in place and being able to communicate internally are key for a better, smoother patient experience

Like most GP practices, the Willow Group struggles with GP and appointment availability when demand is high. We wanted eConsult to be another access point for patients, and we see them as an electronic GP encounter with the same value as a phone call or face to face. We encourage our patients to fill one in for non-clinical as well as clinical advice.

We ask patients to do an eConsult first instead of telling them there’s no appointments. We tell them not to waste their first face to face appointment – explain yourself online and we’ll tell you what to do next. If they need some blood tests we book them in as well as a GP appointment to discuss the results in 2 weeks. That way their first face to face encounter with the GP ends with some positive next steps and maybe even a treatment plan.

“We worked hard to make sure that patients knew what to expect. Our phone message says for anything non-urgent, do an eConsult – it’s easier. Change is always hard but they once they realised that their first experience was positive they keep coming back to it.”

Operational Lead

We have a diverse team in place and had a good operating procedure before eConsult – but now that first patient encounter is an online one. Having their information up front helps us manage our workloads. Our reception team are now our care navigators – and they do so much to ensure efficient triage of our patients to the relevant staff member. They read the eConsult, understand what the patient is asking for and then task the patient to the appropriate individual.

We’ve explained to patients that requests don’t always need to go to the GP or Duty Doctor, but they will be reviewed by a clinician – and we have Advanced Nurse Practitioners, physiotherapists, an in-house pharmacy team and other clinicians who we work with to manage patients. The Admin team can also easily pick up requests from patients and clinicians in order to make the process seamless.

“The online questionnaire was very thorough and I felt confident I was giving all the information the practice would need to be able to help me. It is great to have this service available as it is difficult to get an appointment.”


Everyone in the practice having the right mindset is so important. We treat eConsults as any other clinical encounter – patients get booked in and their eConsult reviewed. For us, it’s just such a great tool to help us manage our workload more effectively.

I didn't have to wait a week and a half for a telephone appointment.

Patient, Willow Group, Gosport

Received a response and issue is being dealt with, very impressed considering the difficult times the surgery is dealing with at the moment.

Patient, Willow Group, Gosport

I do not like to waste time for the GP and/or nurse if not necessary. If the problem can be solved with an e-Consult, that is the best way to save money and time for the NHS.

Patient, Willow Group, Gosport

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