Anima is an NHS approved third party platform that allows patients to communicate with their surgery. It handles both clinical queries such as headache or cough, as well as administrative queries including fit notes and test results.

We have listened to patient feedback and the majority of patients find Anima a better system than our previous online consultation system.

Anima sign up process

Anima requires you to create an online account. All you need for this is an email address. It is a very short, simple process. Over 30,000 patients are already signed up. You can add dependants to your account who don’t have email.

The advantages of having an account are that you don’t need to type your contact details into a form each time you submit a request, and you can see responses to previous requests saved there.

If you have any questions about the sign up process please watch this video –

 

Common queries

Finding the right surgery 

During the short sign up process, the patient needs to select our surgery. This needs to be Living Well Partnership, not the individual site. Your care will remain at your local site. 

Submitting requests for children/dependants 

Requests need to be submitted under the right profile. If you have children or dependants, you need to create them a dependant account within your profile. Click on ‘Settings’ from the Anima homepage. Watch this video for more details. 

Anima have listened to feedback from patients, and you can now have dependants on multiple accounts, so for example Mum and Dad could submit and view requests for children.

Where to get help with Anima?

For any patients who are having problems with signing up or using Anima, you can come into your local surgery and ask the Front Desk staff for advice. Afternoons are normally quieter so they will have more time to help you. 

Data privacy

LWP have completed a comprehensive review of data security before partnering with Anima. Anima comply with all NHS standards for data security and are unable to transfer your data to other parties without complying with NHS controls. 

Anima are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (under company name Continuum Health), which shows they take data protection seriously. We also have a Data Sharing agreement in place with them.

Anima’s privacy policy is available here.

 

Why we use an online request system

Every Anima eConsult is reviewed by a member of your GP team (more on GP Teams and continuity) and assigned to a clinical or administrative team best placed to handle your request. For example, queries about a prescription are handled by our Medicines Team which includes senior pharmacists and prescribers who can conduct detailed medication reviews and adjust doses of medicines. Other examples include symptoms or conditions that our Physiotherapists or Mental Health practitioners are here to support. If they need input from another member of the team or from a GP they will know where to find it.

In other words, by submitting an Anima eConsult you are automatically generating an appointment with the most appropriate clinician or administrator. We respond to Anima eConsults based on clinical priority, with the vast majority of clinical requests receiving a response same day or next day – we think that’s a pretty good service. We respond in a variety of ways, including telephone and video consultations as well as text message replies. If it’s clear from your Anima eConsult that an examination is required we will call you to arrange a face to face appointment.

By working in this way we ensure our GPs have sufficient capacity to see the patients that can only be dealt with by a GP.

What’s really important for our patients to know is that we receive a fixed annual government grant to run the partnership. More Anima eConsults does not equal more income! So if our request volume increases by 10 percent we don’t have any more funds to recruit more doctors, it means our clinicians have to work longer hours; and we already work very long days. Overworked clinicians lead to poor decision making, compassion fatigue and burnout – something none of our patients want to see!

So we do expect our patients to use Anima eConsult responsibly, and we do place limits on how it will operate to ensure the safety of our patients and the partnership:

  • We expect patients will, whenever appropriate, try to self help and speak to their pharmacist for advice and over the counter medication, before contacting the surgery.
  • We will signpost patients to more appropriate services whenever appropriate, such as their pharmacy, local NHS physiotherapy, their optician or dentist.
  • There is a limit on the number of Anima requests you can have live with the practice at one time. As they are normally closed in 72 hours this shouldn’t limit your access to care.
  • We will not limit the number of requests that patients can submit per month, but at our discretion where we feel a patient is overusing Anima eConsult we will propose a meeting to discuss how we can better support their care.
  • We expect communications via Anima eConsult to be polite and constructive. If your care hasn’t met your expectations tell us, politely, and we will do everything we can to put it right.
  • We keep Anima eConsult available throughout the day for the convenience of our patients, however at certain times we will turn it off to ensure continued clinical safety. This includes Bank Holidays and internal training events. We will provide as much notice as possible prior to these events, and direct patients to 111 for immediate clinical assessment when Anima eConsult is unavailable.

We receive thousands of requests per month and we are really proud that we can support our patients’ access in this way. We thank you for continuing to use Anima eConsult responsibly so that this important service and our doctors will continue to be here for you when you most need it.