An overview of group consultations

Health Education England have awarded almost £100k to Greater Manchester and the North West to develop a new way of working which brings together patients with similar conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, to be seen at the same time when they visit their GP surgery.

Group appointments, also known as group consultations, is a new way to practice in primary care that enables GPs and practice nurses to consult one-to-one- in a supportive group setting. This model of working was recommended in The GP Forward View (2016) and has been piloted in Slough and elsewhere with GPs.

Group consultations key benefits

What are the benefits to delivering care this way?

Initial evaluation from Slough shows that patients enjoy the consultations and that GPs find working this way empowering and rewarding. Patients benefit from peer-to-peer support and improved confidence especially on self-care; whilst GPs and practice nurses save time and can do more with similar resources. Evidence also suggests that frequent attenders are attending less frequently and actively take part in in routine monitoring of their condition when it is part of a group setting.

The nursing perspective

Louise Brady leads on practice nurse development in Manchester and is coordinating the grant from Health Education England for the wider region. Although these group consultations have been adopted by GPs, they have not yet been widely adopted by practice nurses, which would mean Greater Manchester would be leading the way.

You can read more from Louise in her article for the Journal of General Practice Nursing here and view examples of group consultations here.

What do I do to sign up?

Louise is looking for expressions of interest from 50 practices to kick start these changes next year. Email by the end of January 2017 with the subject ‘group consultations’.