Clinicians in Wales have had access to Enhanced Advice & Guidance provided by Consultant Connect since 2020. The service connects clinicians across all Health Boards to specialists for rapid Advice & Guidance via Telephone and Photo Messaging. We spoke with Dr Ceri Todd, Dr Pam Linney, and Sion Breese, two GPs and a paramedic and development clinical team leader, respectively, to find out how the service benefits them.
‘I find the service very useful, especially during COVID-19 when there was increased pressure on GPs to provide more care in the community. One of the main benefits is near-instant access to the correct department or person via a mobile device without needing to search for the right telephone number or extension.
‘This saves time compared to calling via switchboard, and it does not tie up a landline at the surgery, which is important. I recommend other GPs utilise the service as it’s easy to use and there is a rapid response time.’
– Dr Ceri Todd, GP.
‘The key benefit of using Consultant Connect via the free app is that all of my contacts for patient pathways, along with receiving hospitals and specialist centres, are in one place at the touch of a button. The connect rate is extremely fast, and it’s really easy to use; I have encouraged many colleagues to download and utilise the tool.
‘The communication and information I receive from the Consultant Connect Team about the service has been great; I get regular updates when new lines are added to the app.’
– Sion Breese, Paramedic and Development Clinical Team Leader.
‘I really enjoy using the service and would recommend fellow clinicians give it a go. I get rapid answers to diagnostic queries and management plans within minutes. This streamlines the process for both the patient and clinician, with fewer steps to get the same result. Very quick and easy to use – even for someone who is not technologically minded. Also, the system is very secure.’
– Dr Pam Linney. GP.
Dr Pam Linney
‘A patient suffering with a rash came to see me. The patient also had coeliac disease, so I wondered if the rash was dermatitis herpetiformis. I took some photos via the app with the patient’s consent and sent them to a local dermatologist for advice. They came back and confirmed that the rash was in fact pompholyx. I then called the patient back within five minutes to confirm the appropriate diagnosis alongside a management plan.
‘I received rapid clarification on the diagnosis which was great for the patient and meant that they received a management plan put together by a specialist without needing to attend hospital. Virtual management plans put together in this way are a brilliant tool, especially during COVID-19, as patients can be managed without needing to visit another healthcare setting.’
‘I recently contacted the Palliative Care Team for advice on managing an end-of-life patient. I spoke with the specialist very quickly to discuss a treatment plan that allowed the patient to remain comfortable at home with their family around them, rather than going to hospital. The Consultant Connect App provided easier access to communicate with specialist teams, and this has been really helpful as the procedures have regularly changed through different stages of the pandemic.
Dr Ceri Todd
‘A patient presented with a swollen leg but had previously been to the Emergency Department. The symptoms persisted, and I was concerned that they may have deep vein thrombosis (DVT). I used the Consultant Connect App to contact a GP in the Acute GP Unit Medical Admissions Team at Singleton Hospital. Together, we decided on the best care for the patient, and which is the appropriate clinic or department to send them to.
‘It was agreed that an urgent ultrasound scan was required, which I arranged for the following day. This was a great result for the patient, and the scan was organised for a time when they could easily get to the hospital. Using Telephone Advice & Guidance in this instance meant that the patient’s care was expedited.’