Consultant teams sometimes ask us whether answering A&G calls via Consultant Connect means that they will need to change job plans (due to call volumes) or “be sat at a desk waiting for the phone to ring”. The answer is no.
In fact, the Consultant Connect service is designed so that calls are routed through a “rota” of available consultants. If the first consultant on the rota is not able to answer the call, the call is automatically passed on to the next available consultant and so on until it’s answered. The UK average for calls to be answered this way is actually only 27 seconds!
In addition, all of our projects sit alongside other A&G tools, such as written advice via e-RS A&G giving primary care teams to option to write instead of call if the case is not urgent.
Consultant engagement is paramount to achieving a successful A&G service. This short film below features consultants who have been eagerly answering calls since 2016:
Consultants enjoy the flexibility of the service and reconnecting with primary care, feedback has been positive:
“It is just so easy! I only take calls when I am able to. It is a pleasure to speak to GPs, and the calls never take long.”
“It is good for working relationships between primary and secondary care.”
“There is no question that it does improve speed of communication, appropriateness of referral and reduction of waste of resource including GP time.”
“The benefits of helping GPs with patient care are huge – advice given and patient management changed as a result. Patients may be prevented from being admitted or conversely admitted urgently when previously they were thought to be fine.”
Most of our projects also use our National Consultant Network (NCN) to support local teams in answering A&G calls. The NCN comprises of NHS consultants who are able to answer calls or written requests for advice. These consultants are able to:
- Support local consultants, acting as a backup when they can’t respond to requests; and/or
- Provide specialties that are not available locally, e.g. neurology, dermatology etc; or
- Answer all Phone Advice & Guidance calls from GPs – leaving local consultants free to help the patients they need to see.
Webinar Recording Available:
How to make sure your advice & guidance delivers the Long Term Plan? Telephone A&G in practice…
This webinar provides practical insight into Consultant Connect’s Telephone A&G service and how it works alongside other A&G approaches. You will find out how the service is rolled out and used across the UK and, NHS Doncaster CCG shared their experience implementing the service in their area.