Letter to Patients – Coronavirus

Dear Patients,

At Hedena we have made the decision following the recent developments in the Coronavirus Pandemic to make some changes to our appointment booking system (as per National Guidance).

Why did we change things?

It is a priority for us to ensure that we are responding quickly to the most urgent need, which is a big challenge when dealing with the high levels of demand during this outbreak.

Getting this right means a more efficient use of services, and also a smoother journey for the patient. We want to help patients see the ‘right person, in the right place, at the right time’.

However, having multiple possible options can be confusing for patients, and runs the risk of care being more accessible to those who are better equipped to know the system.

What are we now offering?

We therefore are moving to a system where if you have either an urgent/on the day problem or a routine request you must complete an eConsult. We will no longer be providing this service via the telephone.

We therefore now provide clinical triage, meaning a clinician reviews the eConsults and decides the most appropriate next step, whether it is a phone call, text message, video consultation or a face to face appointment with the most appropriate clinician at the right time.

The only exception to this service is children under the age of 6 months, if you have concerns about this age group please call us.

How long will it take for us to respond? It says “The end of the next working day”?  What if my problem is urgent?

In reality we often respond much sooner than the end of the next working day, but to ensure that urgent problems are dealt with promptly, we have a rapid-triage system throughout the day to ensure those problems are made a priority.

In addition, eConsult has a built in safety net to flag up critical medical problems, and in certain cases will advise the user to dial 111 or 999.

Why aren’t we doing the clinical triage by telephone?

We know from our extensive use of eConsults already for acute presentations that we can triage with eConsult much quicker than over the telephone.  This is in part because more information is made available within an eConsult, and also because it doesn’t rely on the clinician and the patient being available at exactly the same time.

What about patients who can’t use the internet.  Aren’t you being exclusive?

For patients who are unable/unwilling to use eConsult (for any reason) we are offering a service where the receptionist will talk you through the process over the phone or can complete the eConsult for you whilst you are on the phone.

How do I access eConsult?

As the patient, guardian or carer you would go directly to our practice website and click the eConsult link.

I am worried I have Coronovirus.

  • The symptoms of coronavirus are:
  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath
  • But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.
  • The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

If you are concerned that you have been travelling to a high risk area or you may have had contact with someone with Coronovirus please use the link to the 111 service below:

Kind regards,

Justin Amery

Senior GP Hedena Health