We realise that solutions for the NHS are not one-size-fits-all, which is why Consultant Connect services can be tailored and tweaked to fit our clients’ needs. We spoke with two GPs who discussed how Enhanced Advice & Guidance provided by Consultant Connect has helped them provide the best patient care.
For one GP, urgent queries would need to be directed to the relevant hospital switchboard to speak with the on-call consultant, registrar, or secretary to request a call-back. This time-consuming process isn’t practical for clinicians in busy GP surgeries. For anything non-urgent, the GP explained that they would write a referral or use Advice & Guidance through NHS Choose and Book, which caused delays in patient management.
The GP stated that they prefer Consultant Connect because ‘it provides rapid connection to local specialists, which saves time and helps avoid unnecessary admissions and referrals. Using the service enables a quicker and more efficient way to manage patients.’
For Dr Puja Choudhury, a GP in Staffordshire, Telephone Advice & Guidance was introduced in November 2020, and she enjoys using the service to get rapid specialist advice:
‘I have been using the Consultant Connect App over the past few months since it was launched locally. I have used it not only for Advice & Guidance but also for referring patients to relevant specialties for admissions and connecting to hospital switchboards. It has relieved the stress of trying to contact Secondary Care on a busy on-call day, especially if you have the patient waiting in the room.’
The GP had a visit from an elderly patient who had experienced an anaphylactic reaction to the cholera vaccine when they were young and was told to avoid any vaccines in the future. The patient had not had any vaccinations since then but was keen to have the COVID-19 vaccine; however, they were very concerned and anxious, wishing for advice and allergy tests if needed.
The GP used the Consultant Connect App to contact an immunologist from the local hospital and could feed back to the patient the same day. The patient felt reassured and was grateful for a quick answer to their concerns from the expert. They were then able to have their Covid-19 vaccine in the same week.
‘A female patient who had recently suffered weight loss came to visit me. I examined the patient and found an enlarged liver. Urgent blood tests showed deranged liver function and raised ovarian tumour markers. The patient had a history of breast cancer and had been discharged a year ago. Clinically, the patient had suspected metastases from an unknown primary, and I was worried about the potential delay that could happen to her investigations during COVID-19.
‘I used Consultant Connect to speak to a local radiologist to discuss the patient’s symptoms and arranged for her to get an urgent CT TAP scan in the same week.
‘The scan results showed multiple metastases secondary to breast cancer. I was able to promptly refer the patient to the oncology team, where the patient was assessed for palliative chemotherapy within two weeks of being seen in primary care. The patient was very grateful for the speedy way in which she was managed.’