GP case study: Gynaecology
Dr Ruth Cooper MBChB, D(Obst)RCOG, DGM has been a GP for 25yrs and is a GP Partner at Staffa Health, in Derbyshire.
Dr Cooper has been using the Phone Advice & Guidance (A&G) service, which is funded by Hardwick CCG and delivered by Consultant Connect, for over a year and is a real fan: “I think this service is a very positive development for many reasons.” She uses the service to get A&G from Chesterfield Royal Hospital in Derbyshire.
Prior to the introduction of the service, Dr Cooper would have called the hospital switchboard, which took time and there was always the worry that you might be interrupting the consultant. “Previously I would often have to call the secretary, leave a message and then wait for the consultant to call me back. Sometimes this meant they interrupted a consultation with another patient.”
Dr Cooper likes the fact that it’s an approved service that has the full backing of the Trust and CCG, she says: “You feel less guilty about ‘bothering’ a consultant by phone. Plus the response is more timely and easier. Also, with this system, the discussion is recorded along with the patient’s NHS number, so it is auditable.”
The service is also not dependent upon your relationship with the consultant. Dr Cooper adds:
“It provides a good opportunity to form relationships with consultants you don’t know. Plus every conversation helps add to my learning, should a similar clinical issue present another time.”
Below is an example of a recent clinical issue regarding a patient with gynaecological bleeding that prompted Dr Cooper to use Phone A&G.
“A 35-year-old patient presented with inter-menstrual bleeding and post coital bleeding. She had a inter uterine device in-situ and had had a recent normal smear. I examined the cervix and took some swabs: both were normal.”
How Phone A&G helped:
“I was able to quickly speak to a gynaecologist and discuss my findings. The gynaecologist advised that at this stage I had done all that was needed and all that they would do. The most likely cause was irritation from the IUD threads. I agreed with the patient that she would return for a follow-up appointment if she had additional symptoms or a progression of her symptoms. The patient (and I) were reassured and a referral to clinic was avoided.”
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