Update May 2024

We have been operating our new total triage system for over two months now and wanted to share some data from May 2024.


A total of 1346 clinical requests were received in May (online form and phone request combined).
Of these
• 52% were resolved either through face to face, telephone consultation or direct reply within 24 hours of making the request
• 29% were seen within 1-14 days of making the request
• Only 12% of patients waited over 2 weeks for an appointment (mostly due to clinical necessity)
• Most patients who were allocated non-urgent (>24h) appointments were able to see their registered or preferred GP or clinician.



Uptake of the online eConsult form has increased from 50% to 67% since the launch of our new system. In this time, we have seen an incredible drop in call volume from over 800 per week at the start of April to 545 by the end of May. This equates to a staggering
• 35% reduction in total calls
• 69% reduction in unanswered calls and
• 71% reduction in people needing to wait for a callback.

This data proves that the changes that we have made to the appointment system at Wareham Surgery have drastically improved waiting times for appointments whilst also freeing up the phone lines for ease of access for those without internet access.

Patient feedback on the eConsult is also generally very positive with some comments including:
• “My issue was resolved, I didn’t need to take time off work and it is quick, easy and fits in with modern life.”
• “At first I thought it was very long winded but after answering all the questions they were very quick in contacting me”
• “The system worked for me because I got a face to face appointment within a week.”

How to use eConsult

To access the online request form, eConsult, go to the home page of our website www.warehamsurgery.nhs.uk and scroll down to the big lighter-blue rectangle and click on Get Started. If you have an NHS login in, please use this to save you having to enter your own details.

The information you provide online allows us to decide which healthcare professional is best placed to suit your needs (the doctor, nurse or someone else at the practice), and how quickly you need their help. In some ways submitting an online consultation is similar to either phoning your practice or walking-in to speak to a receptionist.

This is called triage, and triaging patients is very important when you have lots of patients asking for your help, as is the case across all of the NHS. Triage also happens in other healthcare settings, such as in A&E where you are seen based on the urgency of your illness or injury. The same needs to happen here – we need to understand who needs help urgently, and who can wait a little longer.

The great thing about online consultations is that they provide us with very detailed information about what symptoms you have and the effect they are having on you. We can then decide, based on the doctors and nurses available to support you, your symptoms, and the needs of other patients, how best to help all of you.

Online consultations are not a short-cut to an appointment, and often an appointment is not the right outcome for every patient request. The reason for this centres around triage – the practice needs to be able to know what all our patients are asking for so that we can give appointments to those most in need. We also need to decide on the right format and time frame for that appointment, as well as the right healthcare professional to help everyone.