In June 2024, Healthwatch sought experiences of eConsult which is a free online platform that allows you to get help and advice from your NHS GP practice.

You can use it to let a GP know about any symptoms, ask a question or follow up about something, either for your own health or on behalf of someone you care for.

By Healthwatch in Sussex
Healthwatch in Sussex

205 people from across Sussex shared their views with us:

– 34.6% told us eConsult made managing their health Easier/Better, but 29.3% said it made it Harder/Worse and 25.9% About the same.

– The feature most identified as Excellent (24.88%) was ‘Convenience’. The feature most identified as Poor was ‘Ease of Use’ (20.98%).

– The most identified change respondents wanted is making eConsult quicker, simpler and easier for users to complete.


Respondents to our poll told us they would like to see:


Modifying eConsult so it is quicker, simpler and easier for users to complete with improved ‘question flow’ to minimise the number that need answering.

“It should be clearer they only want very little information at first and that there will be questions later to provide more details.”

“Make it easier to just ask a simple question without having to go through 20 questions about your condition. E.g. I wanted to have an asthma prescription re-approved but I had to go through many questions about my asthma.”


Increased and more consistent operating hours for eConsult so patients and the public can use the platform at times that suit them, especially working people, rather than those of GP practices.

“GP only operates system at specific times, more useful if it was a 24/hour 7 days a week service.”

“My surgery’s eConsult is only open in a short window of time and only on weekdays, which I often miss which is very inconvenient.”


Greater promotion of eConsult (and similar platforms) so patients and the public can use it as an alternative to other forms of communication with GP practices.

“Ensure all GPs are signed up to these services before expecting the public to engage with them.”

“Make it better known and accessible to everyone, especially older non techy people.”


Ensure GP practice responses to eConsult are timely and effective and minimise the amount of additional follow-up required by patients and practice staff.

“Couldn’t find confirmation when reordering my repeat prescription, I had to phone my surgery to confirm.”

“Make sure GP responds without having to ask again.”


Improved support to help people use eConsult by providing accessible and clear guidance that helps them use the tool effectively.

“Provide sessions to encourage the naysayers!”

“Improved navigation and explanation of how to use – maybe direct us to a YouTube video.”


Next steps

As the public champion for local health and care services, Healthwatch will continue to work in partnership with commissioners and providers to monitor the experiences of patients and the public in accessing health and care services locally and explore how ongoing improvements may be delivered.

We will share the attached report with East Sussex County Council, NHS Sussex, Healthwatch England and others to share this insight and encourage its incorporation into future initiatives.


Tell Us Your Experiences 

Please tell us your experiences of local health and care services via our Feedback Centre and let us know how this has been for you. 

We want to hear if it has been good, bad or indifferent.


Help and support with Health and Care 

If you need help or support related to health or care, then please contact our Information & Signposting Service via 

0333 101 4007 or 

View the report

Click the link below to download the report

Healthwatch in Sussex - eConsult Poll Results - June 2024 Download File (pdf 106.57 KB)

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