5 minutes with a Gastroenterology Consultant

Dr Shmueli talks to us about his personal experience of answering Advice & Guidance calls through the Consultant Connect service...
5 minutes with a Gastroenterology Consultant

Dr Udi Shmueli is a Gastroenterology Consultant at Northampton General Hospital.

Since 2016, local Primary Care clinicians have been able to use Telephone Advice & Guidance via Consultant Connect to obtain specialist Advice & Guidance from the Gastroenterology team at their local hospital on patient related queries.

Dr Shmueli talks to us about his personal experience of answering Advice & Guidance calls through the service…


1. What would you say are the key benefits of using Consultant Connect Telephone Advice & Guidance in Gastroenterology in addition to other forms of Advice & Guidance?


  • Timely advice helps patients get the right care faster. It helps avoid unnecessary admissions and referrals as well as fast track patients who do need to be admitted or referred to hospital.
  • The care of patients who don’t fit 2ww referral criteria and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) patients can be expedited.
  • It helps bridge the gap between primary and secondary care, improving clinician relationships and communication.


2. How has your team’s workload been impacted by answering Advice & Guidance calls? How has it helped your department?


  • The calls are all brief, a few minutes at most, so time is not an issue. I do sometimes interrupt clinic consultations to answer them, patients don’t usually seem to mind.
  • I do book extra patients into lists or clinics in response to GP calls that are followed by an email. That does sometimes lead to extra work, but it’s work that would have happened anyway. This is just an easier way for GPs to find me.
  • The ability to use and share my knowledge, the gratitude of my GP colleagues, and the validation of feeling helpful and improving the care of our patients is very gratifying.


3. Have you found Consultant Connect easy to use? 


  • It is easy to use and if the time of a call is not convenient, I don’t have to answer as there are other colleagues on the rota.


4. Did you/your team have any reservations/anxieties about using Consultant Connect?


  • Some colleagues were initially worried about medico-legal issues arising from the call if
    no notes are taken. However, the calls are recorded, and it’s perfectly clear that primary responsibility remains with the GP.
  • I don’t accept referrals or take any responsibility for the patient from the phone call, so I don’t need to take notes. If I feel I need to see the patient urgently then I will ask the GP to email my office.


5. How has Consultant Connect helped with your response to COVID-19? Have you needed to make any changes? 


  • The delays to normal patient care due to COVID-19 have made better communication with primary care vital.
  • Having Consultant Connect in place has made communication with primary care colleagues quick and easy.


6. What do you see as the main benefits to patients? Can you provide an example of when you answered an Advice & Guidance call via the service?


  • Rapid access to consultant advice has to be the way forward both for patient care and health system finances.
  • Examples include what treatment to start for exacerbations of IBD, management of microscopic colitis, post cholecystectomy diarrhoea, interpretation of LFTs or hepatitis serology.
  • Questions on how urgent a referral should be? Can I use your advice to support a 2ww wait or CT referral? Or “my patient has a positive FIT test but doesn’t want to be referred.”
  • If a GP in my locality phones with a patient likely to have a new presentation of IBD or something else urgent, then I ask for an emailed referral with the details and arrange appropriate investigation or attendance.


7. Do you have any other feedback? 


  • I really enjoy using Consultant Connect. I’m asked questions I can easily answer, helping improve patient care and the gratitude of colleagues boosts my mood.
  • I take about 15 GP calls per week and in any case it is a pleasure to talk to caring intelligent doctors who just need simple advice to move care forward.


Related case studies

The impact of networks in supporting primary care

The impact of networks in supporting primary care

This feature, created by HSJ in co-operation with NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG and East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust shares the impact of networks in supporting primary care.

5 minutes with a Paediatric Consultant

5 minutes with a Paediatric Consultant

Dr Bhatti talks to us about his personal experience of answering Advice & Guidance calls through the Consultant Connect service...

Consultant case study: Emergency Medicine

Consultant case study: Emergency Medicine

The Clinical Lead for Emergency Medicine at Ninewells Hospital in NHS Tayside discusses how consultants answer calls from Junior Doctors, doctors working in Primary Care and colleagues in the Scottish Ambulance Service.

GP case study: Neurology

GP case study: Neurology

A GP in North East Essex uses Telephone Advice & Guidance and speaks to a consultant on the National Consultant Network to help an elderly patient.

Contact us

For more information about how we work with commissioners, hospitals & mental health trusts to improve patient care, please get in touch.

Join a webinar

Listen to health experts from the comfort of your desk as we bring the experts to you in our series of online webinars.

Join our mailing list

Join our mailing list and we'll keep you informed of our latest blogs, project news, and upcoming webinar dates and topics.

Recent tweets

Contact us


You can view our Terms & Conditions here.

Most Read Articles

How to help your Junior Doctors

If the NHS is to attract and maintain the best staff to care for its patients, urgent steps need to be taken to support and motivate the junior doctors who work within it. That’s where professional-to-professional advice systems come in.

read more
Consultant Connect & System EROC

As an established NHS data stakeholder, we have extended our existing collaborations with NHS England to work closely with the EROC team to support the new coding and reporting requirements. Find out how…

read more
How Dermatology is changing

Dr Nambi shares his experience of how dermatology pathways and practices have evolved over the last 12 months, and how the Consultant Connect teledermatology service together with dermoscopy has helped improve the quality of referrals, whilst reducing demand on secondary care throughout the pandemic

read more
3 examples of successful accelerator bids

NHS England and NHS Improvement introduced an ‘Elective Recovery – Accelerator Systems proposal’ in April 2021. In this article, we share how ‘Accelerator Systems’ are using Consultant Connect to restore activity.

read more