Dr Mullin is a GP at Dr Hardie & Partners. The surgery has had access to immediate Telephone Advice & Guidance (which is commissioned by the Health Board and provided by Consultant Connect) since October 2018. She has been a GP for 25 years and uses the service to speak to consultants at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
One of the benefits of Telephone Advice & Guidance is that it is a lot quicker than calling through switchboard as GPs are often able to immediately speak to a consultant (calls are answered in around 23 seconds – current average).
Dr Mullin comments that, before the service was introduced in her area, she had to:
“Send an email or phone the department secretary and leave a message.”
She prefers to use Telephone Advice & Guidance as she gets a:
“Direct response from a consultant without having to wait for a call back or an email.”
This has many benefits for patients and GPs as both are able to get immediate advice. Dr Mullin gives the following recommendation to GPs who are unsure about using Telephone Advice & Guidance:
“The service is an excellent resource for complex patients with concerning symptoms or findings that do not merit a same day admission but should prompt urgent specialist review during daytime/office hours.”
We asked Dr Mullin to provide a recent clinical example of how she has used immediate Telephone Advice & Guidance to benefit a patient.
An 88-year-old patient was “found to be profoundly hyponatraemic (causing bradycardia and dizziness).” He had “recently undergone tests to investigate retinal artery occlusion.” Urea and Electrolyte results came back late from the lab. Using Consultant Connect’s Telephone Advice & Guidance service, Dr Mullin was able to immediately contact a consultant at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to discuss the follow up options.
How Telephone Advice & Guidance helped:
The patient was “seen at the Department for Medicine for the Elderly the following day where appropriate investigations were performed, and his medication was reviewed.” Dr Mullin says that “this avoided a late evening admission as [she] could discuss the patient’s current functional status with the consultant planning the follow up (which was very prompt).” As a result of using Telephone Advice & Guidance, an “unnecessary admission” was avoided.