Most of our projects use the innovative National Consultant Network. Why? because it’s so flexible. The service can be rapidly switched on/switched off to provide short or long-term relief to local clinicians.
The 5 NHS areas below show how it’s possible to achieve different but significant results despite local challenges. For an overview of NCN across the UK, click here.
Area 1 – Across ALL specialties
This NHS area’s Trust did not have sufficient consultant cover to be able to offer a full Advice & Guidance service. Instead, GPs have immediate access to NHS consultants in other areas, freeing up local capacity. The service provides access to 16 specialties, including a COVID-19 Advice line.
- Over 73% of telephone A&G calls have resulted in admissions and referrals being avoided.
- 100% first-time call connection rate in May 2021.
Area 2 – Responding to all Paediatric dermatology requests
This NHS area could not offer a local Paediatric dermatology service. The CCG decided to introduce a Paediatric teledermatology service using an out-of-area hospital via Consultant Connect.
- 80% of all paediatric dermatology requests in this area have been managed via out-of-area specialists providing advice and guidance back to the requester (e.g. GP or advanced nurse practitioners in the GP practice).
Area 3 – Giving GPs access to Mental Health specialists
This NHS area did not have local capacity to support Adult Mental Health and Mental Health Medication advice lines, so they introduced two Mental Health advice lines, via out-of-area NHS Mental Health specialists.
- 63% of all calls to the service have allowed the GP to assist the patient with no onward referral necessary being advised.
Area 4 – Backing up local Neurology when needed
This NHS area introduced access to Neurology advice from out-of-area NHS consultants to help reduce unnecessary referrals to their local hospital and reduce waiting times. Over a period of 100 days, 78% of calls requesting Neurology advice were answered and 72% of those calls resulted in hospital visits being avoided. This area now uses out-of-area NHS Neurology consultants as a backup to local consultants. Currently 80% of calls are picked up by the NCN and 20% go to local consultants.
- To date, 78% of calls, where the outcome has been recorded, have resulted in patients avoiding an unnecessary trip to hospital.
Area 5 – Prioritising waiting lists with NCN NHS consultants
This NHS area had a large backlog in cardiology, and asked Consultant Connect to support them with triaging. They started with a very small trial, approximately 100 patients, with a National Consultant Network Consultant Cardiologist reviewing the cases and triaging the referrals. To date, this area triaged about 600 patients and have also started using Consultant Connect’s service to focus on the new referrals coming in – so a front door triage approach. Results to date:
- 23% of referrals are marked as urgent and prioritised for diagnostics and a telephone or face-to-face consultation.
- 48% of referrals are booked into diagnostics and a routine outpatient appointment is being arranged (face-to-face for 36% of cases and via a telephone consultation for 12%)
- 3% of referrals are booked directly into an appointment, without additional diagnostics being needed
- 26% of referrals are returned to GPs in primary care with advice of which 15% include a recommendation to arrange tests
- Find out more about the National Network and specialties available
- Case studies
- National Consultant Network Overview
- Referral Backlog Triage
- Area Case Study: Front door Triage in Northamptonshire
*Data correct as of June 2021, outcome percentages based on calls and photo-message sessions where an outcome has been reported by either the requesting or responding clinician.