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Important Update: Changes to accessing appointments

From Tuesday, 2nd April, we will change how patients access healthcare at Gosforth Memorial.

We will introduce a digital-first system called askmyGP, which will make it easier for you to get the help you need quickly.

We appreciate this is a significant change for patients, so we want to explain why we are making the switch and the benefits it brings to patients.

Of course, we will also walk you through how to use the new system, and we have a video guide we will share with patients very soon.

What is askmyGP?

askmyGP is a digital system that allows you to contact our Doctors directly via our website.

It is quick, easy, and convenient, and it means we can direct you to the right person to help you the first time.

The new system will replace the traditional appointment booking system for routine appointments with GPs.

Appointments with the Nursing team and Health Care Assistants will continue to be pre-bookable as before, and not through askmyGP.

It is the same system Jesmond Health Partnership introduced in 2020, which has proved very popular with patients.

Once the merger takes effect on 2nd April, all patients in the new combined practice will be offered the same service.

How it works

You can access askmyGP on your phone, tablet, or computer.

As mentioned, we’re working on a walk-through video, but these steps show how simple it is.

  • Visit our website
  • Click or tap ‘Get help with askmyGP’
  • The first time, you’ll be asked to sign up – this only takes a minute
  • Tap Consult a clinician
  • Say if you are asking for yourself or someone you care for
  • Let us know if it is a new or existing problem or a medication query
  • Choose which available Doctor you would like to help you and how
  • Describe your issue in your own words and click complete.

That’s it.

Our on-call GP then checks every single request and assigns it to the best person to help you. In most cases, this will be your preferred GP, but it might be that another clinician is best placed to help.

If we need more information, you’ll receive a call or message. We can generally see you on the same day if you need to be seen in person. In fact, we recommend contacting us on the day you want to be seen rather than ahead of time,

In many cases, patients can resolve their issues without needing to be seen in person. It could be a prescription, some treat-at-home advice, or being signposted to another service, like a local pharmacist.

JHP’s figures show that, on average, after sending your request, you’ll get a reply within 20 minutes and a resolution within three or so hours.

Nine in 10 patients have their issue dealt with by their preferred Doctor.

The Benefits

To patients:

  • No need to rush to call in the morning
  • No waiting on the phone or queueing outside
  • Send a request quickly, easily, in your own words
  • No long forms to fill in
  • See which Doctors are available when
  • Choose how and when you would like a response
  • Quick responses and same-day resolutions (on average)

To practices:

  • Better manage patient demand
  • Reduce surges in phone calls
  • Easily prioritise patients with the greatest need
  • GPs can manage their workload more effectively

Why the Switch?

askmyGP is designed to help GPs better meet patients’ needs. It gives patients quick, direct access and fast solutions.

You may have read our article last week about the challenges General Practice faces—fewer practices, fewer GPs, real-term funding cuts, and millions more patients with more complicated needs.

In it, we also discussed how practices adapt, including using digital technology to connect patients directly to GPs or other clinicians.

When patients can resolve their problems without needing to make a phone call or be seen by a Doctor, it frees up much-needed capacity to see people in person who need it most.

During our patient engagement programme in the Winter, we mentioned that NHS England requires all practices to introduce ‘modern ways of working’ by next year. Now is the right time to make the change, and the system’s success at JHP gives us confidence it will work well at Gosforth Memorial.

Can I still phone or come to the Practice?

Yes, our phone lines will remain open, and patients can call if they cannot use the online system. The Reception team will submit a request for you through askmyGP so everyone is treated the same.

This will be the same for patients who come into the practice in person – you will be asked to send a request via askmyGP system, or the Reception team can do it for you.

The Doctor or another team member will then contact you, and if you need to be seen in person, you will be given a time to come back.

However, we encourage as many people as possible to use the online system. It is quicker and easier for you, and, as you can see, it’s straightforward.

There aren’t lots of questions to complete or multiple pages to navigate.

Anyone using email or social media or shopping, banking, or paying bills online can use it.

What Patients Say

Patients at JHP have a high opinion of the system, with the percentage of people who would recommend us regularly in the mid-90s.

These quotes show the benefits patients enjoy and some of the specific situations the system helps with.

  • I got a response within the hour and managed to have my issue sorted out. I really like the system and thank you for doing what you y can to make life easier for the patients as well.

What else do I need to know?

Firstly, please continue to come forward for medical help as you have done before until Tuesday, 2nd April. The new system will not be available for you to submit requests until then.

All patients at Gosforth Memorial can use askmyGP for themselves or another patient registered with us that they care for.

If you can’t use the online system, you can still call, and the Reception team will send a request on your behalf. This ensures everyone is treated fairly.

It won’t be possible to pre-book appointments. We recommend patients contact us on the day they would like to be seen, rather than getting in touch ahead of time.

The system is designed to help patients who need help today, and pre-booking appointments days or weeks in advance would reduce our ability to prioritise patients’ needs in the future safely.

askmyGP will also replace eConsult, which will stop being available before our switch to askmyGP. Other appointments for things like health checks or cervical screening, for example, will operate as before when we will contact you to book an appointment.