Why can’t I just book an appointment to see my GP?

Why can’t I just book an appointment to see my GP? This and its related question, “Why can’t I see a GP”, are clearly at the forefront of all of our minds at present and are often in the Press. We’d like to help address these valid questions by sharing some information and insights into

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Video Group Consultations

A Great way of Getting your Review

Video Group Clinics

We’re now offering Video group Consultations for our patients with the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Post-Covid

Because of COVID-19 and because we know many people with conditions like diabetes, asthma and COPD are feeling really anxious and isolated, we are now offering you a different way of getting your annual review and regular check-ups. It is called a video group clinic (VGC). VGCs help us to deliver great care and support because when you come along, you learn a lot from other people as well as getting the individual help and support you need from your GP or nurse. VGCs last about an hour and you get to decide what we talk about, and answers to all those niggling questions. People tell us they really enjoy VGCs. They also do better because they get ideas from other people about how to manage their health issues. We enjoy them too because we get to know you even better and repeat ourselves less, which leaves more time to answer your questions and concerns.  

Below is a summary of how group consultations were initially started. We have now developed Video group Consultations in response to the current pandemic but the principle and benefits are the same.

What are Group Consultations?
Register via Email: [email protected] or contact your registered surgery.

Patient FAQ 

Q: What are video group clinics?
A:Video group clinics are a way for you to join people with similar health issues and consult with your GP or nurse for longer. You may also see consultants, pharmacists, social prescribers and health coaches in this way. They are also known as video group consultations or shared medical appointments. We are currently trialling this new method of offering you healthcare and welcome your feedback.

Q: How will I benefit from a video group clinics?
A: People who have participated in face to face group clinics say that they enjoy hearing from other people in a similar situation and having longer to talk about their worries. They say they enjoy sharing their concerns, what has worked for them and what doesn’t but also hearing from other people’s success. They report feeling a sense of belonging and that they are no longer alone in trying to manage their condition such as asthma, diabetes or depression.

This alternative delivery method is not just in response to COVID-19. We see it as a real alternative for some (not all!) that offers all involved key benefits.

Q: Can I still have a one to one video or face to face consultation with my GP or nurse?
A: Yes, practices will always offer face to face appointments and one to one appointments. Video group clinics are used as an extra way to support those who want to join in.

Q: How do I join a video group clinic?
A: You will need an electronic device which has internet access, a private place. You don’t need any special programs as you will be sent a link to click on and access one of the suitable video platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

Q: What happens in a video group clinic?
A: Once you’ve clicked the link to join in, you will be welcomed by a member of your GP practice team who will have been trained to be a facilitator. The facilitator will keep the group secure by asking you to confirm your identity and will start the session by reminding everyone in the group to keep information confidential.

They will then explain how the session will flow and each member of the group (often 8-12 participants) will introduce themselves. You will have time to review and understand the results you have agreed to share such as blood pressure, peak flow etc and come up with questions for your clinician who will join the group and have one to one consultations with each member. During this time people often join in and share ideas and problem-solve together. The facilitator will wrap up after 60-90 minutes and you might want to set goals for yourself.

Following the group you may want to make a one to one appointment to go through anything you didn’t want to share in the group situation or your clinician may want to arrange follow-up tests or referrals.

Q: How do I know a video group clinic is for me?
A: You can talk to your practice facilitator or to your own GP or nurse to find out more and check any concerns you might have. Group consultations might not suit everyone, if you are feeling anxious beforehand, let the facilitator know. It is OK to join a group just to listen and see if it is for you. Some people may even join in and decide to leave if it isn’t right for them. At any point you can leave a group and book a one to one appointment later.

Patient Feedback

Thank you for the VGD last evening. It was very useful especially seeing the other ladies expressing concerns and symptoms similar to my own, it helps knowing that you are not alone.” 

“I found the group consultation yesterday very worth while. It was the first direct contact I have had with medical staff from the Adams Practice for over 3 months. It was good to know that even though there is no contact I have not been forgotten. Meeting 2 others from Poole with Long Covid and sharing information was very good. Listening to others going through their symptoms helped me remember some of my issues. The group helped with this as brain fog means I often forget things or have difficulty in remembering what I need to say. I would love to attend future group consultations. I was left exhausted. It was nice to have a meeting where my cough was just accepted and not commented on.

“It worked well ….Helpful clinician answered all questions. Nice to see people face to face” David, September 2020

“Worked well once I had sorted technical difficulties” Teresa, October 2020

“Went well enjoyed” Jed, November 2020

“Excellent” Roger, January 2021