Orthopaedics Advice & Guidance is a Telephone Advice & Guidance specialty available to many clinicians in participating areas via Consultant Connect. We spoke with Dr Pande, a GP in Doncaster, who has access to Orthopaedic Advice & Guidance to find out how this service has benefited patients.
‘Consultant Connect helps us to make a well-informed judgement on the best patient management and whether or not a referral is needed. Over the last 12 months, a patient from our practice attended the emergency department due to foot pain. The patient had an x-ray, which confirmed that the bone was not broken and was discharged.
‘A short time later, the patient returned to the practice with the same issue. The x-ray report identified the possibility of a foreign body in the foot, and rather than sending the patient back to the emergency department, I used Consultant Connect to speak directly with a specialist.
‘The specialist reviewed the x-ray images and quickly organised a repeat scan and follow-up appointment for the patient. Without Consultant Connect, the patient would have needed to return to the emergency department and would have waited a long time to be seen. Going directly to a pre-arranged appointment with a specialist made the best use of both patient and hospital time. This meant the patient received the care and treatment they needed in a more streamlined and effective way.’
We also spoke with Dr Firas Arnaout, a Trauma & Orthopaedics Consultant at Practice Plus Group Hospital in Somerset ICB. Dr Arnaout answers Trauma & Orthopaedics Advice & Guidance queries on the National Consultant Network (NCN).
‘I enjoy answering Telephone Advice & Guidance calls. I get immense satisfaction from being able to help in these difficult times. To any clinicians who have access to Advice & Guidance on the NCN, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We understand and listen to you, and our advice can save you time to allow you to focus on your patients.
‘I received a call from a GP regarding an elderly patient with a soft tissue swelling in the thigh and a history of minor trauma, which the patient had assumed was a muscle sprain. The lump was getting bigger despite rest. This was a typical but rare case of soft tissue/muscle sarcoma.
‘I advised the GP to urgently refer the patient via their local two-week-wait pathway (2WW) to the Musculoskeletal (MSK) Tumour Service. This meant the patient’s care was expedited, and they got the correct care faster.
‘We, as consultants, have a duty to support Primary Care who are under a lot of pressure to process a large volume of referrals. The Advice & Guidance service can save patients time and avoid stress and complications. We can also save NHS resources by directing the clinician to the most appropriate next step in the patient’s management.’