Home » Reproductive & gynaecological » How virtual consultations help GPs to better understand menopause

Dr Jane Davis

St Erme Medical

While women may feel that they are taking up precious resources, women’s health is still a top concern for clinicians such as GPs.

Dr Jane Davis is a GP and British Menopause Society Specialist. She also fronts Rock My Menopause, a campaign of the Primary Care Women’s Health Forum (PCWHF), a group of 10,000 healthcare professionals with a specialist interest in women’s health.

In her evenings, she currently runs Zoom classes for GPs on understanding menopausal symptoms which have been very well attended during the pandemic. She says, “I’ve watched menopause care for many years and I’m really enjoying seeing people waking up to see how important it is. Not only are women demanding better care but clinicians are becoming more interested as a result and requesting more training. Even giving up their evenings during this busy time to learn more.”

Tackling the perfect storm

Yet Dr Davis admits that GPs continue to struggle against a backdrop of underfunded care, which has tested the system. She thinks that combined with the pressure on women right now – who are often primary care givers to multiple generations – this could create a perfect storm thanks to both socio-economic concerns and rising health problems.

But there has been one benefit of the pandemic. Dr Davis says, “With the roll out of telephone and video consultations, we’re finding that women are opening up now, more than ever. Whether that’s because they’re in a home environment or they haven’t battled with the traffic to get to a surgery, actually menopause care can be delivered remotely very easily.”

The Rock My Menopause campaign has made it incredibly simple to highlight key concerns thanks to a downloadable template a patient can fill in before speaking to their GP. She adds, “It’s the job of a GP to figure out what’s going on. Whether it’s those embarrassing hot flushes or you can’t sleep at night – our message is talk to us. And don’t apologise!”

Addressing women’s health care needs – specialists on the phone

Dr Karen Morton

Consultant Gynaecologist and Medical Director of Tonsmor Doctors from Dr Morton’s

With gaps in the NHS, many practices find themselves short-staffed, but thanks to specialist funding, trials of a GP and gynaecologist-led service are helping to address women’s health issues over the phone.

Dr Karen Morton is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who set up Dr Morton’s medical helpline in 2013. Since December, she has worked with several groups of primary care settings to allow patients to use the helpline as part of Tonsmor Doctors, which allows NHS patients to instantly speak with a specialist in women’s health, for free.

She says, “Over 600 practices don’t have women’s health GP specialists, we want to improve the model and show that the resource is both valued by the patient – and the practice.”

As a model, telephone care is both cost-effective for the business, and incredibly valuable for the woman.

Dr Morton is currently working with Theramex to help validate this model, who is funding the initial access for each practice. It will allow patients to speak to women’s health GPs and gynaecologists through a dial-in phone number that allows patients as much time as they need to talk through their concerns.

Offering a more efficient quality service

Dr Morton explains, “We work with the GP practice so that as soon as a patient comes through on the telephone, I have access to their medical history and that initial discussion takes much less time than a private telephone appointment, but offers more quality time than an appointment in the surgery.” Dr Morton and her team are able to add their notes to the patient’s records and any prescriptions are sent through as normal.

“It’s a new way of working” she adds. “Women find it amazing to talk to a gynaecologist on a Saturday morning, and the GP practice is happy because they’re offering expert care to their patients without having to take on additional staff internally.

“As a model, telephone care is both cost-effective for the business, and incredibly valuable for the woman.”

THX_003003 Mar 21

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