Chillington Health Centre

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What are online consultations?

by Dr Alison Harvey, GP at Chillington Health Centre

In an age when everything from shopping and banking to TV and teaching is available online, why shouldn’t there be a digital alternative to visiting your GP?

Well, there is. In fact, you can consult online with Chillington Health Centre.

But what exactly is it, and what services can you access?

Online consultations allow you to access GP services using your smartphone, tablet or computer.

The version we use at Chillington is called ‘eConsult’ and is available on every page of this website.

An online consultation is essentially a health questionnaire that allows you to:

  • Ask about an existing condition and new symptoms
  • Get information about your condition and find out how to treat yourself
  • Discuss a test result and request sick notes.

Once you’ve submitted your questionnaire, a GP will use the information to decide the best course of action. That could be advice on how you can treat yourself, or to ask you to come in for a face-to-face appointment. We may also suggest a phone consultation or a video appointment, if that’s appropriate.

Patients in Devon and across the country are quickly embracing online consultation. Thousands of practices in the UK already offer their patients the opportunity to consult online, and more than a million people have submitted questionnaires. What’s more, Devon is one of the areas with the highest uptake.

However, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t choose an online consultation if you think your condition is serious. If you need medical help or advice fast (for example, if your symptoms are serious but not life-threatening) dial 111 or go online to And, if your condition is life-threatening, dial 999.

In future articles, I’ll take a more in-depth look at online consultations, and take you through them in a step-by-step guide.

We have produced a leaflet that includes lots of information to help you look after yourself when you have a minor illness, ailment or injury. 

Pick up a copy in the surgery.