2021 Consultant Connect Awards | Special Achievement

Published: 8th December 2021
2021 Consultant Connect Awards - read on to find out the winners of the Special Achievement category…

As 2021 comes to a close we’re delighted to recognise the achievements of our NHS colleagues with the second annual Consultant Connect Awards. As well as the glory of victory, all winners are receiving a donation to their hospital charities. There are two categories:

  1. Advice & Guidance – Best Overall Projects
  2. Special Achievement

Read on below to find out the Special Achievement winners. For the Advice & Guidance – Best Overall Projects, click here.


Special Achievement 2021


WINNER | For Ophthalmology – ‘Joined up Care Derbyshire’ – including NHS University Hospitals of Derby and Burton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (UHDB), Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (CRH)

During 2021 ‘Joined up Care Derbyshire’ have extended on their highly successful Photo Advice & Guidance service for GPs to use Consultant Connect to pioneer Ophthalmology Advice & Guidance within the community. The service involves local optometrists sending photos for Advice & Guidance by Ophthalmologists at CRH and UHDB. For the whole area, we are now seeing over 150 messages per month for Ophthalmology alone. Many patients have avoided the need for a referral, impacting positively on patient flows during the major pressures of peak demand.

Jonathan Patrick, CEO of Consultant Connect, adds: “We have been so impressed by the uptake of our Photo Advice & Guidance service in Derbyshire but to successfully pioneer community Ophthalmology service on top of this is outstanding. Congratulations go to the Consultants/Associate specialists at both UHDB and CRH, along with the area’s two lead Optoms, Alex Howard & Liz Jackson for making the project a resounding success.”

WINNER | For first Patient Connect use – NHS Lanarkshire, Scotland

As part of the redesign of urgent care in Scotland, NHS Lanarkshire wanted the option for hospitals to call back non-emergency patients directly at home to avoid emergency department attendances. They needed to be able to do this in an IG secure and GDPR compliant way. The solution for NHS Lanarkshire was Consultant Connect’s Patient Connect service and the Health Board became the first in the UK to use this service back in December 2020. Since launch over 2,400 calls to patients have been made. 30% of calls result in the patient not having to attend A&E as a result.

Lucy Sammons, Chief Operating Officer, Consultant Connect comments: “Emergency Medicine consultant and project lead, Dr Gordon McNeish’s determination to try this new service was inspiring. We have worked closely with Gordon and his team to enhance the service and introduce additional functionality – a key benefit of being the first to use a new service! Patient Connect gives the ED the flexibility to work remotely, the confidence that calls are being recorded for governance, and the benefit of being able to rapidly analyse outcomes. The greatest benefit is to the patients who can often be given an appropriate alternative to having to wait in a crowded Emergency Department.”

WINNER | For the fastest ICS roll out – Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Systems (ICS)

Back in August, Consultant Connect was asked to roll out its Enhanced Advice & Guidance service: Telephone Advice & Guidance, Photo Messaging Advice & Guidance supported by the National Consultant Network (NCN) across the whole of a large ICS. With what we can only describe as a Herculean local effort, Herts West Essex ICS launched its service within 10 days of approval to go ahead. Local hospital teams came together to offer over 15 specialties backed up by the NCN, and the service is now being used by over 137 GP practices covering a patient population of 1.5 million.

Scott Welpton, Director at Consultant Connect was involved in the launch. He comments: “Implementing our service in just 10 days across an entire ICS was a huge achievement. It’s the fastest ICS rollout we have ever had. I don’t think any other UK area will ever beat this timetable. This agility is down to the excellent leadership of Dr Rachel Joyce – Director of Clinical and Professional Services and her team and the willingness of local GPs to embrace innovation.”

WINNER| For best Urgent Care project launch – Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

Launching in November 2020, this service focused on giving Salford GPs access to urgent and same-day advice. Users in the area have quickly embraced the project. This year the volume of calls placed per month has grown rapidly, and GPs can contact 14 specialty teams via Consultant Connect for rapid Advice and Guidance with an average connection speed of just 20 seconds.

Scott Welpton, Director at Consultant Connect comments: “This urgent care project has been a fantastic rollout, the level of engagement from all parties involved is reflected in the significant uptake from the start. Well done to the team for their part in making this happen.”   

WINNER | For highest local specialty coverage – University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM)

UHNM’s project with Consultant Connect went live in November 2020, with seven specialties initially being available to GPs for Telephone Advice & Guidance and Photo Advice & Guidance. Since then, the project has grown to GPs accessing 31 hospital specialties for telephone and photo messaging advice and guidance across Acute and Elective Care. We’re working closely with the project team to bring on more specialties, with five more currently in the pipeline. Over 4,000 calls have been placed by GPs to date, with 55% of outcomes indicating avoidance of an unnecessary hospital visit.

Jonathan Patrick, CEO of Consultant Connect, adds “One of the biggest challenges of any advice and guidance project is getting the involvement of a wide enough range of hospital clinicians to make for a useful and reliable service. It is not uncommon for NHS areas to spend many months persuading hospital teams that advice activities are worth their time. Not so at UHNM. The ICS and Trust have embraced the importance of rapid communication between GPs and secondary care and the adoption of the service by calling and responding clinicians has been jawdropping. No other area in Consultant Connect’s history has managed to launch 31 local specialties within the first year of a project, and feedback from GPs has been predictably stellar. This is the NHS at its best.”



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