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Changes to eConsults
We would like to thank our patients for their support and understanding over the past year. There seems to be more hope yesterday’s announcements around the easing of lockdown in Wales.
At the start of the pandemic the Welsh government advised the implementation of a system of ‘total triage’. This meant first speaking with all patients seeking medical help on the phone to prevent unnecessary visits to the surgery.
The initial impact of this change was that all requests, both routine and urgent had to be dealt with on the day the requests were made. We did not know if the pandemic would have an impact on our workforce and so tried to deal with all requests on the same day to clear the work.
To help manage the demand and reduce delays in patients needing more urgent same day attention we introduced eConsults. The idea was that this would continue to comply with the Welsh government’s total triage model and also reduce the burden of patient’s having to phone in at a time when our phone lines were already very busy.
The move to eConsults has for the majority of our patients been a positive experience. eConsults have allowed us to increase the number of routine requests we deal with on a daily basis by nearly 30%.
Unfortunately the impact on our phone lines and the demand for same day urgent requests has not been affected. Too many patients are still phoning in to go on to the duty doctor list with non-urgent problems. All the requests on this list have to be assessed the same day. Only those patients with a genuine urgent problem are dealt with on the day by the duty doctor. Non-urgent requests get a routine response and the patients are informed of this. We have found that eConsults coming in for problems over the weekend have often been resolved through self-care or seeking help elsewhere and we are then duplicating work by dealing with the original request.
We now have to take further steps to manage the demand on the service. As we roll out COVID-19 vaccinations, we have been instructed by the health board to continue our routine work at the same level, alongside the vaccination program.
eConsults will now be available Monday to Friday between 6:30am and 6:30pm. This will allow for the submission of eConsults at the start or end of the school or working day, for a next working day response. The web self-help service will continue to be available 24/7.
We will continue to assess the impact of any changes and respond in a balanced manner.
Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding
All at Tonyfelin Medical Centre
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Welcome to Tonyfelin Medical Centre Online
We have all had to learn to live and work differently in the past few months. We thank all our patients for their understanding and support during this time. We have had to learn and do the majority of our work over the telephone, using email and video consultations to help deliver primary medical care to our patients. This has resulted in lengthy waits to get through to us on the telephone and likewise for us to get back to patients.
We have learned that... not all our patients need to wait to be seen in the surgery. Many needs can be met safely and quickly without seeing a GP, with the satisfaction of patients. We have continued to see patients whom we need to both in the surgery and at home. Social distancing requirements mean we can only have 9 patients in the surgery waiting room at any one time. This is a far cry from past numbers.
We now have eConsult. For those of you who have tried the demo at https://demo.webgp.com/, thank you. The site has been down but is up and running again.
eConsult is now active and available to our patients. It will be our preferred method of contact from Monday 22nd June 2020. This will allow patients to seek medical help at their convenience and allows patients to take their time when putting their needs and concerns across. Following a request via eConsult we will get back to patients by the end of the next working day. This is far speedier than historical waiting times for routine appointments. We will reply using the contact details provided by either email, text or telephone.
We will continue to see patients both at the surgery and visit the housebound as needed.
We understand not all our patients will have internet access. You can still phone through but you will be required to give more information than you may have in the past. This allows us to prioritise patient care according to need. No contact method gives any patient priority over others.
The following patient groups do not need to or will not be allowed to use eConsult:
- Emergency or COVID related problems
- All requests concerning children under 6 months
- Children under 18 years unless the request is sent by a parent
- Patients we see as vulnerable and at risk and patients who will have difficulty understanding or accessing the system
- Other healthcare professionals
You may be stopped during the eConsult process and asked to phone the surgery directly if your problem is deemed to be urgent. You will still have to give some information for why you are contacting us so that we can prioritise a response to you by the end of the same day.
There are 4 main options when you start to use eConsult:
- “I want help for my condition”, this starts with self-help options and leads to an eConsult if it does not meet your needs
- “I want general advice” this leads to an eConsult for yourself
- “I want help for my child”, this starts with self-help options and leads to an eConsult if it does not meet your child’s needs
- “I want administrative help” this leads to help with test results, sick notes, referrals, forms etc.
You can choose which best suits your needs. The form may seem repetitive or tedious but it is designed to be safe. If you feel that the eConsult is not progressing as you expected, you have the option to go back and change your answers.
To free up the telephone lines for our vulnerable patients and those who do not meet the
criteria for using eConsult we will no longer be taking prescriptions queries or orders over the phone. If you are on repeat medication then please use MyHealth online to reorder your medication. You can apply for this via our website in the prescriptions area. You can also make requests via your usual pharmacy. You can still drop your requests at the surgery, via letter, fax, email or using the enquiries form on our website.
We will continue to re-assess our service and make changes for the better. We welcome feedback but please provide this via post or email. For confidentiality please avoid replying to the Facebook posts.
Follow Welsh guidance and stay safe.
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The practice is here to support you through the current pandemic that is affecting so many of us.
We understand that you may be more anxious if you have to attend the surgery if you have had a shielding letter or are in the vulnerable category as defined by the Government. We would like to reassure you that your safety is paramount to us. Please do not delay seeking help for medical problems because you are worried about attending the surgery. If you have a medical problem please contact the surgery on 02920 887831. A GP will phone you back and if appropriate arrange for you to be seen at a time and place that is safe for you. Please be assured if you have to attend the surgery, we have social distancing measures in place and all face to face contacts with health professionals are undertaken with staff wearing personal protective equipment for your safety.
Local Authority Contacts:-
Caerphilly County Borough Council
Address: Tredomen Park, Ystrad Mynach, Hengoed, CF82 7PG
Tel No: 01443 815588 or 01495 226622
Situated at the centre of Caerphilly close to the castle, the practice provides general medical services as well as a range of other medical services.
Please note that we operate a 'care navigation' system.
We offer clinics for the management of chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes and a wide variety of other medical services including antenatal and postnatal care, minor surgery, childhood vaccinations and well-person check-ups.
In addition, the practice is a teaching practice, teaching 1st and 3rd year medical students on a regular basis. The practice also participates in research studies, where we believe our participation will result in benefits to patients.
You can book a routine 10 minute appointment with a GP on-line. You will need to register at the practice for this service and will need to bring in a photo-ID, i.e. new-style driving licence or passport in order to register and receive secure log-in details. Once registered, please click on 'Access the appointment system' below. For further details, please see our 'On-line appointments' page within 'Appointments'.
(Site updated 23/07/2021)