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New ways to consult your GP in Sunderland

Wed 13th March 2019

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Patients in Sunderland will have new ways to consult their doctor in the future – in addition to the traditional appointment at the GP surgery.

These options, which include consulting your GP online, over the telephone, by video or in group consultations for some conditions, are available now in selected practices – with all the city’s surgeries set to follow by 2021.

Dr Raj Bethapudi, Executive GP at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “These changes will give patients a whole range of convenient ways to consult their GP and make better use of technology. There is no change to the traditional appointment to see a GP in person, but patients will have a range of more flexible options to suit busy lifestyles.

“With these changes, patients can opt for a video consultation, contact the GP online or over the phone if that is right for their needs.

“For some long-term conditions, patients may value the chance to have a group consultation, where they can discuss their condition with other patients as well as the GP. Again, this will be the patient’s choice.”

Patients now have the chance to find out more about the new options – by visiting their practice website or dropping in to a series of roadshows where CCG staff will demonstrate some of the new technologies available, and answer questions.

These events are arranged for:

  • The Bridges, Sunderland (9am – 5:30pm) – Thursday 14 March, Friday 15 March, Saturday 16 March
  • Hetton Centre (8am – 3pm) – Wednesday 20 March
  • The Galleries, Washington (9am – 5:30pm) – Thursday 28 March, Friday 29 March, Saturday 30 March

The new options include eConsult, a new online portal offering patients 24/7 access to check their symptoms, receive advice, and consult their practice online, and MyCOPD, a smartphone app to help patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) to self-care and monitor their health.

eConsult, which includes a ‘red flag’ alert in case the patient needs immediate medical attention, is currently live in 15 local practices, while all GPs are already offering the MyCOPD app to patients.

These options add to the technologies already available, which patients can use to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view their GP record online using a smartphone, tablet or computer.

The scheme will cover every practice in Sunderland by 2021, with the CCG aiming to have 90% of practices offering these services by 2020.

New options for patients include:

  • Telephone and video consultations with GPs
  • Online consultations – helping patients to self-care
  • Increased use of text messaging for appointment reminders, information sharing and questionnaires
  • Group consultations – option for group consultations for specific conditions like COPD and diabetes
  • Remote monitoring – providing smartphone apps like MyCOPD and myHEART to help patients to self-care and monitor their health remotely
  • A new advanced telephony system for GP practices

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