Our vision: to transform access to medical care.

Northern Ireland: happier GPs, happier patients

GPs, staff and patients from four practices in Northern Ireland explain how they have transformed their working lives through adopting a demand led system.

“Patients were angry because they were waiting so long.” turns to “They’re loving it now” – receptionist.

“From being very skeptical… I’m very positive”  Donna Casey, manager

“Our big concern was that demand would increase… It’s been a revelation”  Dr Tom Black.  “The GPs are more relaxed… we have improved our continuity of care.”

They can now respond to patients within minutes, from demand either by telephone or askmyGP online, offer a choice of GP and see those needing a face to face consultation on the same day.  They tell their own story.

The Northern Ireland Department of Health have committed to further rollout of askmyGP in their plan, Health and Wellbeing 2026:  Delivering Together page 25.

First presented at the European Forum for Primary Care annual conference EFPC 2016.

Riga, Latvia, 4-6 September 2016.

2 responses to “Northern Ireland: happier GPs, happier patients”

  1. Marie Herring says:

    Has this seen a reduction in Emergency department walk in numbers .

  2. Nancy Blake says:

    This would be a fantastic approach for patients with ME/CFS. These patients, falsely labelled as having a mental health condition, and prescribed CBT and GET have been a very demanding and dissatisfied group. With the PACE Trial, which purported to support these treatments now being questioned, and the US IOM coming out firmly that this is not a psychiatric condition, but a serious, extremely disabling disease, in which exertion of any type ‘may adversely affect many organ systems’, a reversal to the original prescription of complete rest from the inception should be made. For these patients, the exertion involved in a visit to the GP can result is being bedridden for days. When rest was prescribed, it seems recovery was not uncommon. The constellation of symptoms involving progressive muscle failure (not ‘fatigue’), cognitive difficulties, dysregulation of the normal endocrine functions (erratic body temperature, sleep rhythms), signs of immune activation (sore throat, swollen or painful lymph glands), and variability of symptoms, with worsening after exertion would justify a strong suspicion of ME/CFS. This constellation is both much too complex to be invented by a hypochondriac or malingerer, and is very recognisable.
    The patient should be immediately advised to rest for several weeks, rather than coming to the doctor. Diagnostic tests to exclude other, treatable conditions should be conducted, preferably from the patient’s home. The family need to be advised of the importance of rest. A visit from a physiotherapist to teach how to manage day to day tasks while minimising use of muscles, and from an occupational therapist to advise and provide aids to minimise exertion, and ongoing support via the internet or phone, with an occasional visit from the doctor or a nurse is very likely to result in significant improvement (normally rare!). These patients often are the doctor’s ‘heartsink’ ones, coming in time after time, desperate for diagnostic procedures and nonexistent treatments. This programme minimises unrewarding surgery visits which in themselves make the patients worse, and could transform this group into patients who are getting better and grateful for it.

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