Above: Dr Iestyn Davies of the Cwmtawe Medical Group
A consultation with the doctor will soon be just a click of a mouse away for some Swansea Valley patients as their GP surgery goes online.
After listening to calls from its patients for greater access, the Cwmtawe Medical Group – which is made up of Clydach Primary Care Centre, New Cross Surgery and Sway Road Surgery - is introducing digital consultations where patients can contact their doctor via their computer, tablet or smartphone.
Using a platform called askmyGP, patients can log on to the new Cwmtawe Medical Group website.
They will be asked to enter some basic details which will then be read by a GP who will direct them onto the appropriate health professional, such as a fellow GP, advanced nurse practioner, paramedic, practice nurse, physiotherapist or pharmacist.
Above: the logo on the Cwmtawe Medical Group's website that will grant access
If a GP’s input is required, a decision will be made as to whether the patient needs a prescription, phone consultation or a face-to-face appointment.
The existing methods of contacting the surgery, by telephone or in person, will remain in place offering patients a great choice.
Dr Iestyn Davies, a partner at the practice, said: “It’s about advancement using modern technology, we have to move with the times.
“Traditional GP surgeries have evolved so much over the last few years and we have to keep pace with demand.
“We appreciate our patients’ frustrations when sometimes trying to contact us using the existing telephone system and askmyGP is a new digital consultation platform which will allow patients greater access to their GP if they so wish.
“We hope that it will be embraced by the community and lead to a better overall experience.
“Each request is dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner.
“We are a large organisation of multidisciplinary clinicians these days and deal with the patients according to their presentations.
“As such you don’t always need to see or speak to a GP, it may be a query that other members of the team can deal with.”
Reassuring those who are more comfortable with more traditional methods he said: “The existing system will still be in place.
“Patients will still be able to ring in or come to reception and request medication or letters as they have done in the past.”
Although the system, which goes live on Monday November 25, is relatively new to Wales, Dr Davies assured his patients it had been thoroughly researched.
He said: “We are amongst the first in Wales to adopt askmyGP although there other digital triage platforms being used elsewhere.
“We spent several months investigating various systems and believe we have found one that will be beneficial for both patients and clinicians.
“We went to visit a group of practices in Weston-Super-Mare where the system has already been adopted and they have seen great satisfaction from their patients with more than 90 percent saying they were happy with the new service.”
Ian Barratt, askmyGP’s training partner with the Cwmtawe Medical group, said: “We are delighted to be working with Dr Iestyn Davies and his team.
“The benefits of online consultations will be quicker access and equity of treatment in a way that has been designed to be user-friendly to all ages.”
The service can be accessed by visiting http://www.cwmtawemedicalgroup.co.uk