Dr Varadarajan Baskar, a Diabetes and Endocrinology Consultant at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, has been a consultant for 14 years. He has been answering Advice & Guidance calls, via Consultant Connect, from local primary care colleagues since the service launched in his area in 2017.
Initial Patient Presentation
Dr Baskar recently helped a local GP who was seeking advice about a patient with Type 2 Diabetes. The GP used Telephone Advice & Guidance, via Consultant Connect, to get rapid advice as the patient’s control had fluctuated rather considerably. The GP spoke to Dr Baskar and explained the patient’s history and asked whether they ought to consider scans for the patient to exclude malignancy.
How using the service helped
Dr Baskar explains: “I was able to reassure both the GP and patient that the fluctuations were likely caused by patient-initiated changes to lifestyle, which the GP subsequently confirmed after reviewing practice nurse notes, and so didn’t need to consider any scans for the patient to exclude malignancy.”
We asked Dr Baskar to share some examples of the sorts of advice he provides via the service:
“I often get advice requests about: new diabetes, acute rise in sugar in known diabetes, diabetes and hypo, thyroid queries either new patients or existing patients with change of situation (for example pregnancy), low sodium levels. With these types of queries, I will often give them first level considerations of differential diagnosis and appropriate diagnostic work up and referral thresholds.”
Dr Baskar recommends the service to other consultants and when asked what advice he would give to consultants who have the service in their area, but are yet to answer a call he said:
“Give it a try, the benefit to the patient is only one of the values of the service. The passive education and knowledge sharing with the caller will hopefully become applicable to many more patients who present to them with similar clinical conditions.”
When asked whether answering calls via the service impacts on his workload, Dr Baskar said:
“I only answer calls when I’m available. The rota system means that if I’m not available to answer a call, the system automatically moves on to the next person on the rota. The service data is reassuring as it tells us that within 30 seconds one of us is answering a call, the average call length is about four minutes. By answering calls via the Consultant Connect service, I know I am able to help the caller and their patient rapidly.”