Virtual consultations across the primary care pathway

Our webinar can be accessed through microsoft stream here.

Our webinar on virtual consultations across the primary care pathway, was conducted in 2019 and comprised four key presentations, summarised in brief with some key points and quotes below. 

Our first presentation is with Dr Pete Holloway, Cancer Research UK GP and Chair of the Cancer Alliance Primary Care Group. Pete talks about how virtual consultations can be used across the pathway and then extends this to look at where consultations have potential further use.

Pete said:"Like a lot of the sudden transformation that we've had to do, change was precipitated by COVID-19, we had to change the way we worked literally overnight. A lot of different practices adopted different systems for video conferencing and used it in different ways. Primary care has embraced video consultation, finding it a very useful tool with various advantages as well as limitations."

"When we began with virtual consultations, we looked at possible barriers. Virtual consultation does rely on patients having the relevant IT and being able to use it, there are also information governance issues, we also worried about patient acceptance as oppose to face to face appointments. Video conferencing is particularly suited to some problems and not others, (or some people more than others). We still feel there is the need to retain the potential for face to face consultation where necessary. Barriers can also be advantages though, patients can have both the support from family members and from the GP practice. 

"We have moved on from simply using virtual consultations in primary care but to looking at using it all along the cancer care pathway. We are only just beginning to scratch the surface - in terms of potential. For example in terms of diagnostic MDT's, potential in follow-ups to reduce need to go to hospital, and post discharge in terms of follow-up in the community." 

Our second speaker is Mary Hudson, Deputy Director of Digital First, who talks about the digital model of triage and looks at examples of best practice.

Mary said:"COVID-19 has changed a lot of things, a lot of practices were doing telephone triage, but we wanted to encourage practices to complement this with online work. We did a lot of work with data to track implementation, there was very fast uptake."

"Some practices now work more at a hub level. Providing extended access provision at scale including wider specialties in the MDT team. We are seeing a massive decrease in the number of face to face consultations in general practice, reducing the amount of time a GP needs to deal with requests, enabling practices to spend more time with more complex patients."

Dr Mallicka Chakrabarty, a GP Partner and Trainer at Larwood Health Partnership, in Worksop, talks about examples and case studies from her own personal experiences of using virtual consultations in primary care  and using them for cancer patients. 

To hear about these examples please listen to the webinar, the case studies are mentioned separately on the website.

Our webinar speakers finish with Jody Deacon, Integrated Development Manager, who goes on to talk about the regional perspective on virtual consultation, the roll-out, successors and enablers and future potential in the primary care pathway. She discusses how remote care was split into three teams; primary, secondary and care homes/hospices.