5 minutes with a Virtual GP… Dr Adam Shepperd

Dr Adam Shepperd has been a GP for 4 years. He works for Teladoc Health three days a week and then at his local NHS GP practice two days a week.

Dr Shepperd talks to us about what he thinks of the virtual GP consultation service, what patients can expect, and some tips for achieving a healthier lifestyle.

What happens in a virtual GP consultation?

This can be a telephone, video call, or both in the same appointment. In many ways, this is like a regular consultation, with a part for history taking, gathering ideas and expectations, and an examination (looking at photos/ assessing via video/ the patient being directed to examine themselves) and then discussing management.

What do you like most about delivering virtual GP appointments?

If the patient is new to the service, there is an opportunity to start from scratch with patients, take a complete history, and there is time to hear from their perspective.

Can you share an example of how you have helped a patient coming into the service?

I spoke to a female aged 27 with a recent diagnosis of IBS. The consultation felt very beneficial for the patient because she had more time to ask questions than a conventional GP appointment. I was able to give advice on how to manage her condition. I then referred her directly to one of our virtual nutritionists within our service to assess dietary triggers and management. The patient was delighted that her experience was so thorough.

What advice would you give a patient who thinks of using the service but is unsure?

Although there are obvious limitations to a remote/digital GP service, some symptoms need to be assessed in a face-to-face setting; there are many conditions that we can assess/ diagnose and advise about remotely. You can expect to speak with a GP quickly (usually within 2 hours or less) who will listen carefully to you and give you adequate time. If you then need to be referred to any of our other services, we can do that easily and efficiently for patients. Patients can be referred to the following; mental health support (including help with stress, bereavement, burn out, sleep and more), nutrition

What do you most enjoy about working for Teladoc Health?

I can provide a good quality of service, and this feels very fulfilling. It is a friendly team; we support each other as colleagues, and the workload is very manageable.

Can you describe a typical working day (or week) at Teladoc Health? What types of symptoms present the most?

It is very varied, and we see/ speak with patients with various problems. The most common are skin problems, ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) problems, mental health, and paediatrics.

What is the professional achievement you are most proud of?

Adapting to the covid 19 pandemic and the new styles of working necessary to provide high quality healthcare remotely to patients.

What do you like doing to relax and take care of your wellbeing?

I like to cycle, run, and spend time playing with my son.

What are your go-to snacks during the day?

Coffee! Usually, fruit/ nuts

What’s your typical breakfast?

Muesli with banana

What are your top 5 tips for people seeking a healthier lifestyle?
  • Be fidgety! Don’t sit still too long
  • Try and fit exercise into a regular routine (e.g., run before or after work) rather than having to set aside hours for gym/classes
  • Buy some running shoes (even if just for walking!) As they are essential to protect your feet/knees/hips when you are increasing your level of exercise
  • Try to see chores as part of the exercise – e.g., walk to do the shopping/ active commute to work
  • Do not snack while distracted (e.g. while watching tv), as it is easier to overeat.



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