It’s often still very difficult in the NHS to speak directly to the right person when timely advice is needed – especially if a patient’s needs are complex or urgent.
Consultant Connect Advice & Guidance lines can be set up to offer a wide range of clinicians to talk to. Plus, we help support the integration of community services. Providing direct communication links makes patients feel that care providers are working together rather than providing ‘siloed’ care.
Consultant Connect provides Advice & Guidance to a wide range of medics and community healthcare providers, not just GPs to Consultants, such as Paramedics, Nurses, Community dental services, Pharmacists, Nurse Prescribers, Tissue Viability Nurses, Care Home clinicians, Optometrists, and Mental Health clinicians.
Case examples: wider access work in practice
Marcus Viggers, Paramedic for the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, shared a recent example of when he used Consultant Connect for advice on an elderly patient with complex needs:
‘The patient had multiple comorbidities, and her daughter was essentially looking after her; there was no real care package in place. I used the app to speak initially with her GP, and then again to speak with one of the consultants in the local hospital. These conversations enabled us to decide that, given the patient’s history, it was best that she remained at home and was looked after from there. Being able to access multiple points of care, ensured a safe referral. We were able to improve care provision within the patient’s home and avoided an unnecessary admission. An admission would have been a disruptive and distressing for both the patient’s daughter and the patient.’
Alex Howard, Optometrist at Specsavers Opticians in Chesterfield, shares an example of how he used the service to benefit a patient:
‘I recently saw an asymptomatic lady with a small macular hole but good vision. In the past I might have referred her for a routine opinion, and she might have waited a couple of months to be seen in HES, worrying in the meantime. In the event, I was able to call her back later that same day to tell her the ophthalmologist had seen the scan and was happy for us to perform another OCT in the community in 6 months’ time unless she noticed any visual change – a much better outcome for everyone involved.’
Consultant Connect is playing an important part in helping to transform the physical health of patients with mental illnesses through better communication in the King’s Health Partners’ project ‘Integrating our Mental and Physical Healthcare Systems’ (IMPHS) at South London and Maudsley (SLaM).
Through rapid Advice & Guidance from physical health care specialists, mental health clinicians at SLaM are able to navigate patients to alternatives to hospital attendance or admission where appropriate and safe to do so.
Dentists in both general dental services (GDS) and community dental services (CDS) in Swansea Bay are using Consultant Connect to confidentially send messages, images and other personal data securely to consultants based in secondary care, who can provide support and advice on treatment options or signpost to appropriate services when necessary. The restorative dental department achieved a 43% reduction in referrals for patients discussed via the Consultant Connect App.
Bushra Wassa, a Physician Associate in Coventry, shared a recent example of how using Teledermatology via Consultant Connect improved the care of a patient with hidradenitis suppurativa:
‘They were in a lot of pain and were regularly going to the hospital to have abscesses drained. This continued to the point where the patient was expressing suicidal thoughts because of the constant agony they were in. We had tried all options available to us, and the next step was a referral to Secondary Care. I sent a message to the Dermatology specialists at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire via the Consultant Connect App, and they responded with a management plan for the patient. The response was very quick and detailed, and the patient is much happier now; it was a great outcome.’
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about how NHS Advice & Guidance via Consultant Connect could benefit your area, email email@example.com or call us on 01865 261 467.