Clinicians in North Central London ICB have access to Enhanced Advice & Guidance via Consultant Connect which rapidly connects them with specialists for comprehensive patient advice. We spoke with Dr Edwina Akerele and Dr Victoria Beasley, GPs in the area to find out how their access to Telephone Advice & Guidance helps them support their patients.
Why do you like using Enhanced Advice & Guidance?
‘It reduces the risk of any potential patient safety issues as there is no delay in initiating plans. The service is efficient, and all the specialists are friendly, approachable and you can learn a lot.’
– Dr Akerele.
‘It is incredibly useful to be able to use the Consultant Connect App to make a prompt call and obtain an answer to a query quickly. During a busy clinic, it is much easier to pick up your own mobile if you want to speak with a specialist. The answers I have received have reduced my referrals and helped me provide better patient care in complex cases.
‘Also, as a newly qualified GP, I find sending clinical photographs to local Dermatology specialists via the PhotoSAF function invaluable. The responses have assisted in knowing when to refer and which treatments to offer.’
– Dr Beasley.
‘I recently saw an antenatal patient after her midwife suggested she discuss starting Acyclovir Prophylaxis in the late stages of her pregnancy due to a history of recurrent genital herpes. When I saw the patient, she was well with no symptoms of genital herpes, so I decided to make a Telephone Advice & Guidance call via Consultant Connect to discuss the case with a local consultant gynaecologist. The call was very useful as they advised me that the guidance surrounding this had recently changed. Research had actually shown it is better for patients with recurrent herpes to be on Acyclovir Prophylaxis from 36 weeks.
‘The patient was very satisfied that the recommended management plan, to prescribe the medication, came from a consultant who was aware of the new guidance. The patient felt reassured because of the consultant’s specialist opinion and felt safer taking the medication following this call.
‘The service is efficient and allows patient management plans to begin in a timely fashion. This also helps to bridge the gap between Primary and Secondary Care communication. I can discuss challenging cases with specialist colleagues to make better decisions for patients. I feel supported in my role and, as a result, I learnt medical knowledge which may help with future patient management.’
‘I saw 45-year-old patient suffering with cluster headaches. He was already on the Neurology waiting list but was struggling to function due to the pain. I used Telephone Advice & Guidance to speak with a specialist colleague in Neurology for immediate advice and to discuss a patient management plan.
‘I was able to call the patient back straight away with an update and a different analgesic option, for which the patient was very appreciative. Using Telephone Advice & Guidance in this way meant that I could get a prompt response and set out a clear management plan whilst the patient waited for his outpatient appointment.’