We spoke with Dr Victoria Barber, a GP in Rushden, to find out how she uses the service in her role and the benefits this provides to her and her patients.
Northamptonshire stats for the last 12 months*:
Over 6,000 calls made for Telephone A&G | More than 1,000 messages sent for Dermatology A&G | Calls on average are answered within 29 seconds
What do you like about using Enhanced A&G provided by Consultant Connect?
‘I’ve used all the facilities that the Consultant Connect App offers, but I particularly value Dermatology Messaging A&G. The local dermatologist answering the queries is very professional and always provides prompt and suitable advice, which is invaluable for the patients.’
Patient record integration is switched on for your area, meaning that if you input an NHS number and an outcome after receiving advice, the Consultant Connect activity automatically integrates with the patient’s record. How does this affect your workload?
‘It’s great; the interactions go straight into the patient’s notes, which is very useful. Before, I’d have to send a copy to the secretary, and they upload it manually. Patient record integration is convenient, and it facilitates sending the activity to the patient because you can attach the email directly from their record without needing to save it to the desktop, which is unsuitable for GDPR reasons.’
‘I used Consultant Connect to seek Gynaecology A&G for a patient approximately a year ago. I spoke to a specialist very quickly who was absolutely fantastic and saved the patient many problems. The patient presented with a third-degree prolapse, and, before Consultant Connect was implemented, she would have had to wait multiple months for an outpatient appointment. However, when I spoke to the gynaecology specialist, they arranged to see the patient on the ward that same day.
‘I saw the patient again recently for a check-up, and she was incredibly grateful for rapid intervention, and she had already had her surgery.’
‘Dermatology Messaging A&G is priceless, and I could give you countless examples of when the service has benefited patients. I’ve seen most skin rashes during my career, but there will be the occasional presentation where specialist advice is helpful. Consultant Connect allows me to tell patients, “Let’s take some photos, and as soon as I receive a response, we’ll put together a plan”. I normally have a response within 48 hours maximum, and I can text the patient with the management plan and attach a copy of the specialist’s response for their reference. Patients are pleased because they’re not waiting months for an outpatient appointment, by which time their skin condition will have deteriorated. It’s an excellent service; I love it.’
*Data from August 2022 – August 2023