“A doctor seeing patients, particularly those with complex histories, can feel at times very unsupported and quite isolated. And working alone can impose considerable psychological stress. How can we compensate in the NHS for diminishing interactions?
It turns out that using timely verbal Advice & Guidance can deliver a magic stress release to GPs, junior doctors, paramedics, consultants, nurses and other users!
In this article I want to briefly explore what I have discovered from using Consultant Connect to call across hospital to speak to colleagues, and from my work providing verbal Cardiology Advice & Guidance to Primary Care.
Firstly, just the act of discussion by telephone itself eventually leads to a clear decision and is a great way to lessen work stress and therefore improve the enjoyment of work.
The second benefit is education, a two-way street, with primary care physicians informing secondary care about the nature of problems and the issues at hand, and secondary care helping to educate them on some of the complexities of their particular discipline. The conversation can then be a 5 or 10-minute tutorial, with each teaching the other in a two-way process. It is a fascinating dialogue, and as in all respectful conversations between professionals, leaves one feeling better.
In the past year I have learnt so much about the way COVID-19 presents diagnostically early on. In particular, it is the nuances that they know and inform me of. Furthermore, I’ve also learnt even more about the long-term consequences of COVID-19 and the problems patients take to primary care weeks or months after diagnosis, particularly – but not only – issues with heart rate regulation.
In addition, being able to verbally connect quickly allows primary and secondary care to draw much closer together. Through conversation and shared problems, we actually feel much more part of one shared community coping together with the health problems of the nation, particularly during the pandemic crisis. It brings to mind a comment a great colleague of mine said, that he viewed medicine as essentially being storytelling and story listening. For all the science that underpins clinical practice, practitioners make sense of the world by way of stories!
And finally, Consultant Connect enables us to deliver the more obvious improvement of care to patients – undoubtedly having a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing too.”
Dr Davey is a Consultant in Cardiology and General (internal) Medicine at Northampton General Hospital.