HEALTH experts are seeing a significant rise in people receiving medical help in their own homes thanks to virtual consultations.
GPs across County Durham have noted a steady increase in the number of people accessing online eConsult services during the Coronavirus lockdown.
eConsult, which is available on GP practice websites, allows patients to submit their symptoms by completing an online form and receive a response via telephone or e-mail with advice.
Patients can also use the service to be directed to self-help guides and videos, pharmacy advice, local self-referral services and NHS 111 as well as request fit notes and GP letters.
Dr Stewart Findlay, chief officer, NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Even though our surgery doors are currently closed to walk-in-patients GPs are still at work and here to help.
“In the wake of Coronavirus we have all had to get used to doing things a little bit differently and online consultations are now being used more and more as a quick and convenient way to access health advice.
‘Telephone triage is still available for patients’ who cannot access online services, but our aim is to offer as much choice and accessibility to as many people as possible.”
Patients can still register with their GP practice for an online account allowing them to request telephone or video appointments, order medication, access their patient record, view test results and request medication – on their phone, tablet, laptop or computer, via the practice website or the NHS APP, at any time including outside of normal GP surgery hours.
“As always our number one priority at the moment is to keep our patients safe and people should not delay in seeking treatment if they are unwell.” added Dr Findlay.
“But it still remains vital that everyone continues to help stop the spread of the virus by washing their hands and following Government advice to stay at home.”
For the latest on Coronavirus visit: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or www.gov.uk/coronavirus
If you feel unwell please call your GP practice or NHS 111, for emergencies call 999.