Clinicians across Birmingham and Solihull ICB have access to Enhanced Advice & Guidance via Consultant Connect, connecting them to specialists at the touch of a button. We spoke with a GP who seeks advice via the service and a consultant who provides advice to find out how the implementation of Consultant Connect benefits them and their patients.
Dr Goyal likes to use Telephone Advice & Guidance as it allows her to speak with specialists quickly.
‘I appreciate that a dedicated consultant is at the end of the phone and, as a result, the waiting time to receive a specialist opinion is reduced. It means that I can easily share specialist knowledge with my patients.’
Dr Goyal also uses Photo Advice & Guidance to take and share clinical photography for specialist advice securely.
‘It’s a quicker and more efficient use of my time than writing letters. Everything is traceable, and the system works very well. For me, as a clinician, Consultant Connect helps to reduce the level of risk that I hold. It provides reassurance for me and is a useful tool to learn and to inform future patient outcomes.’
Dr Turner is a Respiratory Medicine Consultant who answers Telephone Advice & Guidance calls via Consultant Connect from local clinicians.
‘The service is brilliant for clinicians when they are unsure whether to refer or admit someone, or have queries about urgent treatments where they need a decision now or within 48 hours. The service makes relationships between Primary and Secondary Care more personal and effective. It helps me understand the patient cases better.’
Dr Goyal – Endocrinology
‘I saw a patient who had a lump in their neck and was concerned that it was malignant. To help manage their worries, I used Consultant Connect to call a local consultant endocrinologist. The consultant helped me manage the risk because they were able to explain to the patient that there were investigations they could do to gain more information.
‘The patient appreciated the real-time specialist opinion, felt reassured due to the consultant’s knowledge and left the appointment with further investigations in place.
‘I felt reassured knowing that I had an extra level of input and could utilise the patient’s appointment to start further investigations efficiently.’
Dr Goyal – Dermatology
‘On another occasion, I saw a patient who had suspected severe hand dermatitis. I recognised some of the symptoms based on my own experience. To ensure my initial thoughts of the patient’s condition were correct, I took some photos with the patient’s consent. I forwarded them on the Consultant Connect App to a consultant dermatologist on the National Consultant Network.
‘The dermatologist confirmed that the patient needed systemic treatment only provided in Secondary Care. I was pleased that although the waiting time for dermatology is extensive, it was an appropriate use of the waiting list in this case.
‘The patient was glad to see the end of many doctor appointments and instead receive the specialist treatment they needed. They also felt that their condition was being taken seriously.
‘I felt reassured that the referral was appropriate and necessary for the patient’s care, and that the response was received very swiftly.’
Dr Turner – Respiratory Medicine
‘I recently received a call regarding a patient experiencing breathlessness and low oxygen levels. The patient had also recently been discharged from hospital, and the paperwork suggested that readmission was not advised. Additionally, the patient wished to remain at home.
‘I provided advice to support the patient’s care in the community in accordance with their wishes by adding a tablet-based treatment to their regime and organising an assessment the following day. Collaboratively, the GP and I started a similar management to a hospital setting via support from the Community Respiratory Team. I felt we offered patient-centred care whilst sharing perceived clinical risk.
‘As a result, the service proves that spoken interaction can often be more productive than electronic interaction. For example, clinicians can discuss the reasoning behind a decision, meaning it can be applied by the clinician in Primary Care for future similar cases or enhance education and confidence.’