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Supporting GP practices across Lancashire and South Cumbria to work remotely in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

1st April 2020

We have created this webpage to provide the latest guidance and tips to support our primary care colleagues across Lancashire and South Cumbria to work remotely, deliver online consultations for local people and meet as virtual teams.




Digital primary care and coronavirus (COVID-19)Online consultations

All GP Practice staff must read the latest guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement, and there are specific instructions regarding Digital primary care and COVID-19 in:

For the latest updates to general practice regarding the emerging COVID-19 situation, please visit NHS England and NHS Improvement's coronavirus (COVID-19) response updates and guidance for General Practice webpage.


Video consultations

Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) is currently facilitating increased video consultations to support local GPs to carry out remote appointments with patients.

Online and video consultations between patients and clinicians should be used as an alternative to face-to-face appointments during times of social distancing, unless a face-to-face appointment is absolutely necessary as determined by the online triage process.

Video technology offers a range of benefits including:

  • Minimising travel
  • Supporting isolated communities
  • Reducing the spread of infection.

iPlato / myGP

iPlato video consultation licences are also currently available for each GP Practice - this requires iPlato to be downloaded. Training and deployment is available by contacting Redmoor Health.

Please could patients be supported to download the myGP app wherever possible to allow easy access to online services.

Lancashire and South Cumbria wide offer to support the role out of remote consultation software

Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS is making Visconn Clinic Remote Video Consultation Units and Xuper remote consultation software licences available to local Primary Care Networks.

This will support reduced workforce issues in Primary Care Networks by enabling the scheduling of clinics across the PCN area - for GPs, other clinicians and a range of other use cases. 

Each of the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) who have requested a Visconn Clinic Remote Video Consultation Unit is being set up as a separate site for the Xuper licence and allocated a single concurrent licence for use across the PCN. The named administrator on behalf of each PCN will be able to schedule remote clinics and appointments for the PCN. It will not be possible within the system to have more than one clinician booked to use the single concurrent licence within each PCN thereby avoiding double booking.

Named administrators / clinicians for the Xuper licences should now have received a link to activate their licence.

  • The Xuper licences can be used on any device connected to the internet
  • Appointment are created and initiated in a browser
  • The patient gets an email link to click on, no patient download required
  • Training will be provided by Redmoor Health on behalf of Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System as a video webinar - please contact Richard Stoddart
  • Follow up 121 support with video conferencing using the Xuper licences is available - please contact Richard Stoddart.

Visconn clinic remote video consultation units will be available to all Primary Care Networks who have requested one. These units will be able to be used by clinicians to undertake video consultations with patients across the PCN including care homes, if this use has been requested. The Visconn Clinic Remote Video Consultation Units are now available for deployment into the host PCN sites - please contact Richard Stoddart to confirm your delivery slot if this has not already been arranged.

Video group clinics

Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System is accelerating the deployment and implementation of video consultations and group clinics to support remote working.

Video group clinics have the potential to be used for the management of people with similar conditions in a group. They could also be used to support people who are worried about COVID-19 symptoms as a virtual drop in to provide information, but not to manage acutely unwell patients.

Video group clinics are a different way to see people with similar health issues. Before COVID 19, lots of GP practices were working this way to support and review people with long-term conditions like diabetes and asthma.

By meeting virtually as a group, patients are able to share their knowledge and experience and benefit from peer support. Evaluation has found group consultations free up clinician time for more complex care, enhance patients’ understanding and confidence to manage their health issues; especially where self-care is key to success. All these benefits are highly relevant to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  

Help, support and training is available to help practice teams in Lancashire and South Cumbria to set up and run video group clinics. This includes:

  • Systems to manage consent, confidentiality, safeguarding and documenting
  • Guidance of ways video group clinics can facilitate triage and management of groups of patients with long term conditions during and after COVID-19
  • Consultation skills for video group clinics
  • Facilitation skills and managing group dynamics.

For more information and to register for training, contact Sue Capstick.


Microsoft Office 365 roll out and using Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams are being made available to all GP practices across Lancashire and South Cumbria. This has already been rolled out for any user with a NHSmail account.

How to get started with Microsoft Teams

  • Go to and sign in using your NHSMail login details
  • It is recommended that you use the web-based version of Microsoft Teams if possible
  • If using the web-based version is restricted by EMIS, you will need to download the desktop version instead and this may require support from your IT provider
  • There is the option to download Microsoft Teams onto a personal device
  • Primary Care Networks or Practices need to allocate dedicated resource to request permissions, administer / organise Microsoft Teams and create teams on behalf of colleagues. For business continuity purposes, it is recommended that you allocate more than one named person to this task.
  • To request permission to create teams for your Primary Care Network or Practice, please contact your IT provider. Ability to create teams is not provided by default - permission is required.
  • Please make sure all staff are aware that the same principles for information governance and data protection apply, whether you are holding patient consultations in person or virtually or using Microsoft Teams.

Training webinars

Practice staff can request a training webinars to familiarise themselves with using Office 365 and Microsoft Teams. To arrange a session, please email and a member of the team will aim to respond within the hour.

Information for Morecambe Bay colleagues

We are aware that there are GP Practices in Morecambe Bay who have different email arrangements and the ICS Digital Health team is working with ICT colleagues to identify the best solution for those organisations.


Equipment and IT kit queries

  • Requests for IT equipment are being managed centrally through NHS England and NHS Improvement and IT providers, please collate local requirements and submit to your local GP IT provider. Nationally equipment is being deployed where it is needed most.
  • If you have old devices that are no longer being used, please return them to your GP IT provider as soon as possible as these may be able to be upgraded or re-used.

IT providers by Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

  • Fylde Coast: Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Morecambe Bay: University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
  • East Lancashire: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
  • West Lancashire: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
  • Blackburn with Darwen: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
  • Chorley and South Ribble: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
  • Greater Preston: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit


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We will use this webpage to provide the latest guidance, support and tips for Primary Care colleagues across Lancashire and South Cumbria to deliver online consultations and meet as a virtual team as we respond to the emerging coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Page last updated: 1 April 2020, 19:43

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