Health Systems and Policy Research

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Are technology driven patient group consultations the new normal for Primary Care?

Maggi Bradley

Quite recently, group consultations (or shared medical appointments) were introduced to the range of tools available to clinicians working in primary care. Simply, these are the delivery or care advice to groups of patients with similar health issues. Patients are able to share experiences, and learning, with peers in a supportive and often motivational environment. Working in this way at least doubles clinician capacity and systemises follow-up. There is strong evidence that this approach enhances patient experience, improves clinical outcomes, and reduces hospital/A&E attendance.

The Covid-19 crisis eliminated the possibility of face-to-face group consultations but, the principle of expert-led peer support, particularly at this time of increased health anxiety, was sound. The decision was taken to investigate the use of technology to enable continuance.

In this session I will discuss the barriers to implementation, benefits, risks, uptake and outcomes, ultimately posing the question, in the post Covid-19 world, are we ready to increase usage of technology to the point where the traditional approach to Primary care should be overhauled.


Maggi is proud to have been a nurse for more than 35 years. Initially training in Stafford and Liverpool, she began work in cardiothoracic medicine before qualifying as a midwife and leading the care of women and babies affected by substance abuse at the Christiana Hartley Hospital in Southport, UK. Qualifying as a Specialist Practitioner in 2000, Maggi began working as a General Practice Nurse, a role which she continues to this day. In 2016 she was nominated by her patients to become a Queens Nurse. In 2018 she was asked to take the role of Lead Nurse Mentor for South Sefton, Southport and Formby, in the North West of the UK. This role has evolved and expanded into her current position as Nursing Clinical Lead. Here she works alongside universities and nursing students to promote General Practice Nursing as an exciting and dynamic career option which is central to the Government’s 10-year forward view and critical to forward thinking patient care. She also works with General Practice surgeries to open up new opportunities for students. Recently she has accepted a position as one of the leading clinicians for the national pilot of online video consultations in Primary Care. She is a regular contributor to nursing publications, and broadcast media, and in her ‘spare time’ she is a wife, a mother to a teenage boy, a yoga junkie and an avid supporter of Liverpool Football Club.