Group Consultations- Workshop

PMA (formerly Practice Managers Association)
Delivery Method: Virtual


Imagine a service in which it’s easier to get to see your doctor or nurse and you get to spend around 45 mins with them in an informal setting. The key objective of Group Consultations is to help patients access the right care at the earliest opportunity. There are numerous drivers for this patient centred approach and outcomes will include a more streamlined GP workload, improving efficiencies in terms of access to services and patient satisfaction. It will achieve this by releasing valuable GP time and resources.

In this Group Consultation service, patients receive the personal attention of the medical team and others, in a calm, relaxed, well-organised setting. Imagine as a patient getting not just an unhurried appointment, but in fact a whole 90 -120 minutes with the healthcare team. This is enough time for medical teams to attend not just to medical conditions but also to make the patients feel really listened to regarding the issues that surround their condition.

This means patients can explore what those issues mean to them and the effect on their life. Also, they have an opportunity to learn about how best to manage their condition, how to stay well, how to prevent illness or slow its progression.  And they have an opportunity to learn from other patients within the group with similar experiences and conditions, and to provide them with their own learning and experience – enabling them to give support to others and as you also to receive support…

Tell me more?

There are two situations where getting access to a prompt appointment can be challenging. 

  • Getting an appointment to be seen for a new condition requiring assessment.
  • Getting a routine follow-up appointment afterwards

The key advantages to Group Consultations.

  1. When we see people individually, we often say the same things many times over to people with similar conditions. With this new approach we get to say it once and it’s this that releases time to do much more for you.
  2. We know from patients in their private consultations with us, that for many reasons, they don’t always ask the questions they could ask, or they simply don’t know the questions that they should ask. With this new approach, it’s likely that someone in the group will ask those questions and you will get to hear the answers.
  3. By really thinking through how we can provide you with your care, we’re going to be able to make your visit to the surgery a much more efficient ‘one stop shop’

How will you handle confidentiality?

That is an important question. We would ask patients to hold themselves to the same high standard of confidentiality as the professionals. A condition of attending is that every patient signs a statement of confidentiality in which they promise not to reveal other patients’ information.

To summarise; what is a Group Consultation clinical appointment?

  • 90 -120 minutes with your own healthcare team (half of that with your doctor or nurse)
  • Prescription changes or renewals
  • Arrangements for tests and procedures
  • Discussion of test results
  • Answers to your medical questions
  • Discussion of medication side effects
  • Discussion of treatment options in depth
  • Receive preventative tests, examinations, and vaccines
  • Share helpful hints with others to live life more fully
  • Lively discussion and support to help manage your condition

The PMA Group Consultation web workshop has been created with an experienced practice team including Clinicians – practice nurses, GPs and experienced Practice Manager facilitators.

Objectives of the workshop: 

By the end of this highly participative workshop, all delegates will have:

  • Understood what group consultations are
  • AND what they are not…
  • How the process works
  • Listened to patient and staff experiences
  • Experience a group consultation about group consultations
  • Be familiar with the evidence base, including UK case studies, that support the adoption of group consultation as routine practice
  • Contributed to a Shared Ambition for group consultations in the locality and Care Partnership
  • Have skills and personal actions to take this work forward


Session One

Welcome & Introductions - Learning Outcomes

  • Skills and confidence to deliver Group Consultations
  • Understanding what Group Consultations are for
  • Benefits to patients
  • Benefits to the practice
  • Using protocols
  • Receptionist role in Group Consultations
  • Communication strategies
  • Patient safety

Introduction to Group Consultations

This session will introduce why Group Consultations are now a recognised a methodology to meet demand on GP time and how it can increase access.

Discussion will explore the benefits, risks and limits of the approach. 

How are you feeling? – Interactive Group Session to discuss:

  • Thoughts from a patient’s perspective
  • Thoughts from a Receptionists perspective
  • Thoughts from the Clinicians perspective

How will the Receptionists role change with Group Consultations?

  • Sources of help for receptionists
  • How to make referrals 

Group Work & Practical Session

These will be based on typical scenarios found in GP Practices and case studies and will be an opportunity for participants to develop new techniques to deal with enhanced patient interactions. Emphasis will be on developing confident communication skills, with all participants having the opportunity to practice these new skills

Session Two

What a Group Consultation is NOT      

Communicating the changes to patients  

Achieving effective and persuasive communication through traditional and online channels

Key Characteristics of Group Consultations

  • How do Group Consultations Work?
  • Is there evidence that Group Consultations work?
  • Why do we need training and coaching to run Group Consultations?
  • Benefits to Practices and Clinicians
  • Benefits to Patients
  • Efficiency Gains
  • What challenges do Group Consultations solve?


  • How to conduct Group Consultations 
  • Great Communication is….
  • Things to Avoid…
  • Professional Touches

Listening for Success

  • Active Listening
  • Open vs Closed Questions
  • Context
  • Risk Assessment – developing a safe environment
  • Triggers

Processes for Keeping patients safe

  • Introduce, explore and discuss methods of how patient safety is maintained.
  • Introduction to protocols and how to use them…
  • The continuing importance of Confidentiality as part of the Group Consultations process
    • From staff point of view
    • From patient point of view

    Monitoring Group Consultations successfully in practice

    Next Steps - Formulate an Action Plan

    Q&A - Summary


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