Deerness Park Patient Newsletter – October 2023

Posted by: Mark - Posted on:

Welcome to our second edition of our patient newsletter.


In February 2023 we introduced a clinical triage” system (econsult) for appointments to comply with the government’s requirement to improve patient access.  This new system means that however you contact the practice, be that by telephone or using the online econsult, all requests are reviewed by a GP who decides which member of the practice team is the most appropriate to respond to your situation.  

This may mean for example you are offered an appointment with one of the wider team of clinical specialists at the practice which could be a GP, Advanced Nurse Practitioner or Health Care Assistant based upon the GP’s assessment of the information you have provided.

Why did we change? 

To be able to provide a fair service to all patients, ensure patients are seen in the right timeframe, by the right clinician and to be able to improve the continuity of care. 

We knew we needed to improve access for all patients and significantly reduce the waiting times on the telephone, so we looked for a way of managing demand and improving efficiency. 

Just a reminder of how the appointment/econsult system works: –

There are several ways you can access the practice for medical help (please use econsult as your first choice when contacting us if you can)

  1. Via econsult online, on the app or via our practice website between the hours of 07:00am and 12:00pm. You do not need to register to use econsult, just click the get started button. 
  2. If you are unable to use the econsult in this way, then you should phone the practice between the hours of 08:00am and 12:00pm…. you should find a much smaller call queue these days due to the online facility. 
  3. Ask us when you are next in to send the econsult link to you via text- then you have it handy for whenever you may need it. 

* If you are unable to use the online service, and you call the practice you will still be asked to provide details of your symptoms to a member of the reception team. This is to ensure the GP reviewing your request has all the information they need to make sure you are seen by the right member of the team. 


There is a GP on duty from 08:00am to 18:00pm who is responsible for reviewing all the requests for medical help that day. This is usually one of our GP Partners- Dr Kisler, Dr Lucas, Dr Samy or Dr Winchester. The GP uses the information provided in the econsult to determine what happens next, at times they may request additional information. They then work with the team to arrange appropriate care. 

IN EVERY CASE THE GP MAKES THE DECISION ON THE OUTCOME AND APPOINTMENT. This could be a same day appointment- telephone or face to face with a GP, an advanced nurse practitioner or sometimes they may ask for further investigation from one of the nursing or Healthcare Assistant team ahead of an appointment with the GP or nurse practitioner. It may be that the appropriate appointment is a little further away- but will always be within 2 weeks.

In some instances, the GP may respond via text or may advise a referral into the local pharmacy. 

Whatever the next step the GP decides, a member of the team will contact you and inform you of this. 



A. All patients who can and are able to use the econsult online will be asked to use this to contact the surgery- this means you can do this when it is convenient for you, and without the need to sit in a call queue. It also means a guaranteed response within 48 hours and no more 08:00am rush to call in for an appointment.

 econsult is an online system that prompts you to answer questions about your request for medical advice (such as the symptoms that you are experiencing), or the administrative help that you need.  This information will help our team to prioritise your care and get you the right help from the most appropriate healthcare professional in the correct timescale. 

The questions asked are dependant on the condition described. There are triggers within this to spot the urgency/risk of your problem and these will be highlighted to the GP on duty. 


A. At the very latest within 48 hours, so by 18:00pm the next working day, but we work to ensure all patients are contacted by the end of the same day. 


A. Due to the volume of requests for medical help that come through daily, the GP on duty needs the time and space to be able to complete the list by the end of that day. Sometimes the number of requests for help can exceed 150. We have recently listened to some feedback and opened the online option to submit an econsult from 07:00am. Telephone requests will remain from 08:00am. 


At our last patient participation group meeting, we talked through various roles that work in General Practice and we recognised that there is a real gap in awareness about other healthcare professionals and what they can do. So, we are bringing you a ‘meet the team’ update, and eventually we will have told you about all of our wonderful team here at Deerness Park, but we want to start by introducing you to our senior partner and one of our amazing Advanced Nurse Practitioners. 

Dr T Lucas

Hi, I’m Dr Tracey Lucas, one of the GP partners at Deerness medical group. I have been with the practice since 2015. I originally trained as a children’s doctor before becoming a GP in 2003. I have additional interests in contraception and women’s health and can fit coils and implants. I also work for our integrated care board as a clinical lead for Sunderland, with interests in urgent and intermediate care, and work as the clinical director for the east Primary care network. This means helping the 7 practices in the east of the city work together to provide good health and care for our patients. I have lived in the northeast since 2000, but originally come from Glasgow and did my medical training at Glasgow before moving to this gorgeous part of the country which feels like a home from home. Outside of work, I can often be found at the theatre, directing plays and stage-managing shows. 

My vision for patient care is high quality, responsive and proactive care for our patients. 

ANP Susan Rocks 

Hello, my name is Susan. I have been with the practice 3 years now. 

I am a registered nurse and independent prescriber with experience who is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing as a trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP).  My role and scope of practise in patient care have expanded due to the development of my skills and knowledge.  I work in parallel with the GPs within the surgery and with the wider multi-disciplinary team.

As an ACP in primary care, I can provide complete episodes of care for patients from birth through to adulthood presenting with a wide variety of health and social care needs:

  • Acute presentations
  • Care of patients with long term conditions
  • Muscular Skeletal
  • Rashes and skin conditions
  • Women’s health including family planning and sexual health.
  • Men’s health

Complete episodes of care which may include assessment and clinical examination, arranging initials investigations, referral for further assessment, treatment, and development of clinical management plan.

What are the benefits of an ACP role to the practice?

More complex care is being delivered in General Practice and with a shortage of GPs there is a huge demand for more clinicians due to increasing patient demand.  Advanced Practice roles can enhance patient-centred care and foster clinical continuity.


I will be holding further patient drop-in sessions, please come by and have a chat and share your thoughts on the service we are offering, its important to us to hear this.

Deerness Park Medical Group- Tuesday 24th October 10:00am- 11:00am

Bunnyhill Primary Care Centre- Wednesday 25th October 10:00am-11:00am. 

Thank you, Kirsty and the Deerness Park Team.