Dr Robert Weaver, a GP at Grove House Surgery and Clinical Director of Mendip PCN in Somerset, is a frequent user of Telephone Advice & Guidance on the free Consultant Connect App. The service is commissioned by NHS Somerset CCG and Dr Weaver uses it to speak to local and out-of-area NHS consultants.
Dr Weaver feels very positively about Telephone Advice & Guidance and comments that “this is a fantastic service and has improved my ability to get specialist advice quickly and securely. I would highly recommend it for GPs.”
He adds, “the app also provides useful usage data for users and practices, allowing you to track what services you have used in the past which is helpful.”
Dr Weaver finds Telephone Advice & Guidance to be a preferable alternative to calling through the hospital switchboard because, “this can sometimes be frustrating and often time consuming.” In contrast, using the Consultant Connect App; “allows the clinician to contact a specialist directly and quickly. Often, I am able to speak to someone straight away, with the patient still with me so I can relay any advice straight to the patient. Due to the speed of the service, I can usually do this all within a normal 10-minute consultation length.”
The following example was provided by Dr Weaver.
“A 55 year-old male patient contacted the surgery with recent onset acute lower back pain. During the telephone consultation, I identified red flags in the history that suggested the patient may have Cauda Equina Syndrome and needed an urgent MRI. I contacted the Spinal Team via the Consultant Connect App and was instantly connected with a consultant orthopaedic spinal surgeon. He agreed that the patient required an urgent MRI scan of his spine and gave me advice on how best to arrange this via our local A&E department.”
How Telephone Advice & Guidance helped:
“I arranged admission of the patient to our local A&E department with a referral letter which included the details of the consultant advice I had received. The patient had an urgent MRI scan which fortunately showed only a slipped disc, excluding Cauda Equina Syndrome. The patient was discharged from A&E later the same day with analgesia.
I followed the patient up afterwards and he was very grateful for how quickly his problem had been assessed and managed, and this was only made possible with the help of Consultant Connect.”