Enhanced Advice & Guidance provided by Consultant Connect has been available for clinicians in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent ICB since 2020, quickly connecting users to specialists for thorough pre-referral Telephone Advice & Guidance.
We spoke with Drs Samuel Holden and Puja Choudhury, both GPs who use Enhanced Advice & Guidance in their everyday roles. They sat down with us to discuss how the service benefits them, their colleagues, and their patients.
How do you find using Enhanced Advice & Guidance provided by Consultant Connect?
‘Previously, I used various methods to get specialist advice, including emails, leaving voicemails and waiting for the paged on-call doctor. However, I now find rapid Telephone Advice & Guidance a better tool due to the speed of the service and the easy-to-use app. The free Consultant Connect App is so straightforward; it’s basically a quick phone line, and it’s not complicated or confusing to fill in data. I’d suggest putting the app on the first homepage on your mobile phone screen, as a reminder to use it.’
– Dr Holden.
‘It has taken away the stress of trying to contact Secondary Care on a busy on-call day, especially if I have the patient in the room with me. I used it for Advice & Guidance but also for referring patients to relevant specialties for admissions and to connect to hospital switchboards. The app is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and I have been able to connect to a specialist within a few rings. This has not only saved me time on a day-to-day basis but has helped me to manage patients safely, and in a quick, effective way. I also find it very convenient during home visits, as I can connect instantly at the touch of a button.
‘I would recommend my GP colleagues to use the service as it’s a handy app that saves you so much time and provides quick access to consultants within minutes. It’s also really quick to download with simple navigation tools.’
– Dr Choudhury.
Dr Samuel Holden
‘I had a visit from a patient with end-stage heart failure, and they were adamant that they did not want to go into hospital for fear of dying there. I felt he should have a very short hospital admission to correct a developing iron deficiency anaemia. The patient and I did not feel that an investigation and treatment of the cause was in their best interests, but just for the patient to feel better so they could go home to die as they wished.
‘With the patient present, I used Consultant Connect to speak with the on-call medical registrar so that the patient could hear the call and my request for a quick in and out admission. The on-call registrar advised that the patient should be sent to the hospital to receive IV iron that night and then be able to go home to sleep and return to the hospital the following day for a blood transfusion.
‘Using Telephone Advice & Guidance in this way meant that I could rapidly organise a short hospital admission, with the full involvement of the patient in that process. The patient got the right care quickly and efficiently, and an overnight stay in hospital was avoided. The patient was very satisfied with the process.’
Dr Puja Choudhury
‘I recently used Telephone Advice & Guidance to manage hyponatraemia in a care home patient with complex needs. The service helped me to provide an appropriate management plan for the patient and avoided an unnecessary referral to Secondary Care. The interaction with the consultant in this way was a valuable learning tool. I reassured the patient’s relatives and successfully implemented the changes needed to correct their sodium levels.’