Introduction

Emails have become a ubiquitous way of communication and we at Park Road would like to trial a system for you to be able to email your doctor who will reply directly rather than having to see him in the clinic or wait for a ring back via a telephone triage service. The frustration with a telephone triage is you have to wait for the doctor to ring you back. If you are not available then the doctor has to leave a message for you to repeat the process. We also find this frustrating as we take up time chasing patients.

The system relies on you as the patient to understand to meaning of encrypted emails and unencrypted emails. If you ask us we will send encrypted emails to you in reply but will leave the decision for you as a responsible adult or guardian to contact us via an encrypted method or unencrypted method. Please refer to the section about encryption for more details.

This service is only available from 8 am to 12.30pm Monday to Friday. Any emails received after this time will be managed the next day.

We will not deal with prescription requests or appointment requests. Please refer to https://www.patientaccess.com/  or your Patient Access App if you would like to do this. All such requests will be referred to this web page. Ask at the front desk if you would like to link book appointments or ask for your medication online as you will need an access form from us to do this.

We prefer you to still ring the surgery so we can filter your call as it might not involve the GP all the time eg to book transport or might be important for us to put you through to the doctor directly. From this point of call, you can request an email reply from a doctor rather than a telephone one. If you would still like the doctor to call you back then this is not a problem too.

The GP surgery reserves the right to ask you not to access the surgery via email communication as the surgery deems appropriate.  This may be due to your safety, in your best interests or any inappropriate use of this email service which may divert essential clinical resources. For example, using our normal channels may include the need to assess you face to face for clinical safety. In such if the above instances occur you may be asked to either talk to us by telephone or see us in clinic.If we receive any abusive messages as part of our zero tolerance policy we have the right to remove you from our list in the same way as if it were verbal.

We will be piloting this in July when we will tell you about the change when you ring with a query. After a period of time we will evalutate to see if this if a good method of communcation between you and ourselves.

Encryption of Emails

Encryption of emails have come a long way and it’s no longer the case that you send unsecure messages via email.

Gmail by default uses good encryption (256-bit) and an email sent to another Gmail account or an email provider which offers TLS (1.3) is now by default encrypted. Unfortunately, the NHS is still not TLS enabled so replying back to an email directly will be unencrypted via NHS email.

Sending an email unencrypted is equivalent to writing your message on a postcard and sending it electronically. For most individuals, this might be fine as not many others might have any interest in your symptoms but you have to be aware of this when using this method to contact us and receive replies back.

This is a useful summary of email encryption via Gmail.
Sending encrypted emails via Gmail  (use confidential Mode On with no SMS)

We at Park Road will give you to option to send the email via a webpage (encrypted) which you have to open to read or write directly to you in reply to your email (unencrypted). It’s your choice to decide what you would like to do and please let us know. By default, we will send the email to you via a direct reply(unencrypted) unless you tell us otherwise. This is the same when you reply back or write your first email. We recommend Gmail if you email us as the confidential mode is secure (see above).

By reading this page you have accepted this and are happy to contact us and be contacted and to contact us via email.

Process

  1. You ring the surgery regarding your query (between 8 am to 12.30pm)
  2. The Receptionist will try to deal with the issue but if it does need to go to the doctor you will be given the choice of
    • a normal Telephone Triage
    • an email Triage
      • The receptionist will text you this page as a form of consent for you to email us
      • The receptionist will provide you with the email to contact us on
  3. The doctor will pick up the emails on his normal triage list and deal with it during or after clinic
  4. We will aim to reply to all emails on the same day as being sent

If you email us outside the hours of 8 am to 12.30pm your query will be dealt with the next working day. We will deal with these email by forwarding them to reception | doctor | back to you if you are asking for an appointment or prescriptions

 

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