What is it?

A new model introduced in Medway and Swale uses digital technologies to provide additional access to GPs, and reduce the burden on GP practices.

Together with NHS Kent and Medway, Medway and Swale Health and Care Partnership has established the innovative, clinically-designed and led, centralised model to support the provision and management of online GP consultations.

The model was initially implemented across two Primary Care Networks (PCNs), and is now being regularly extended to multiple PCNs in the area. 

The Medway and Swale Health Hub enabled the GP practices within the initial two PCNs, (serving a population of 71,000 people), to come together to centralise digital systems to coordinate and manage online consultation services on behalf of the GP Practices and therefore hopefully improve accessibility to GPs for patients.

The Health Hub also allows for direct referrals into secondary and community services, improving the patient experience for all involved.

How is it doing?

So far we have seen very positive results, with at least one practice seeing a 400 per cent increase in eConsult activity! Additionally:

  • Approximately 15,000 eConsults managed by the Health Hub on behalf of the seven live practices in nine months.
  • An eight per cent increase in the number of booked face-to-face appointments in GP practices compared to the same period in the previous year.
  • The Health Hub has provided more access and a better service for patients and has freed-up GPs to do what they're good at and what patients need, which is more face-to-face and longer appointments.

What do patients say?

  •  “Reception staff have more time to spend with patients so don’t feel rushed”
  •  “I was able to clearly outline my symptoms and, having been unable to book an appointment by telephone, was given an appointment”
  • “I was given an appointment quickly. I knew I wouldn't be able to book an appointment on the phone as you cannot get through before all the appointments have been allocated”
  • “Easy to use and saves time phoning the surgery”.
  • 83 per cent of patients reported they were satisfied or very satisfied with their eConsult and 87 per cent were likely or very likely to recommend eConsult to others.