Group consultations are facilitated one to one medical appointments delivered by a clinician to a group of patients with similar health issues in a supportive group setting, either face-to-face or virtually. They replace routine one to one appointments where appropriate.
There is evidence that the current model of 10-15-minute appointments and 20-30-minute long-term condition reviews does not provide enough time for both the patient and the clinician to feel that they have been able to have an in-depth discussion. However, the growing demand placed on health services is such that any alternative has seemed an impossible dream with the current model.
In group consultations, however, clinicians see up to twelve patients in 40-60-minute group slot. Working this way potentially doubles clinician capacity and systematises follow-up.
There is strong evidence that group consultations enhance patient experience, improve clinical outcomes, reduce hospital admissions and A&E attendances and generates considerable increases in productivity and efficiency. While group consultations are not the same as group education sessions, due to the peer support they provide, they work especially well for people who must manage their lifestyle and play an active part in improving their health to keep well.
Jurassic Coast PCN is planning to offer group consultations in 2020.