2023 Consultant Connect Awards: Special Achievement

Published: 13th December 2023
2023 Consultant Connect Awards - read on to find out the winners of the Special Achievement category…
Special Achievement Awards

As 2023 comes to a close, we’re delighted to recognise the achievements of our NHS colleagues with the fourth annual Consultant Connect Awards.

As well as the glory of victory, all winners are receiving a donation to their hospital charities. There are two categories:

  • Special Achievement
  • Patient Impact – Best Overall Projects – click here to find out the winners

Read on to find out the Special Achievement winners, or click below to quickly navigate:

Special Achievement 2023

And the winners are…

WINNER for Pathway-Specific:

‘Call before convey’ in NHS Lanarkshire

We’re excited to announce that NHS Lanarkshire has won the ‘Pathway-Specific Award’ for their ‘call before convey’ pathway.

In August 2023, the ‘call before convey’ pilot was launched to encourage Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) clinicians across the Health Board to use Consultant Connect to contact local ED consultants within the Flow Navigation Centre when seeing patients with non-life-threatening conditions. Clinical discussions conducted in this manner enable the consultants to advise SAS clinicians on the best site to direct the patient to or provide self-care advice with the appropriate community management, often bypassing ED and A&E departments.

Following the three-day pilot, it was found that around 80% of calls avoided an unnecessary ED admission, 60% of which avoided an unnecessary patient conveyance as they were cared for in the community. As a result of the successful pilot, the Health Board has received funding to recruit additional clinicians to staff the Flow Navigation Centre. As of November 2023, before conveying patients, contacting the Flow Navigation Centre via Consultant Connect is the first port of call when clinicians are seeing patients with non-life-threatening conditions. Since ‘call before convey’ has become business as usual, call volumes have increased by 94%, with a 92% first-time connection rate.

‘It’s been a pleasure working with the team in NHS Lanarkshire to introduce the ‘call before convey’ model, which has managed to almost double the calls placed in the previous month. I look forward to working with partners within Lanarkshire and SAS to expand the service next year.’ – Stephen Lamb, Customer Success Manager at Consultant Connect. 



HIGHLY COMMENDED for Pathway-Specific:

Same Day Emergency Care in Northamptonshire

For this year’s ‘Pathway-Specific Award’ we highlight Northamptonshire ICB and their Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) pathways. Launched in 2022, Kettering General Hospital (KGH) and Northamptonshire General Hospital (NGH) were two of the first secondary care organisations to roll out SDEC pathways via Consultant Connect, including specialties such as gynaecology.

In the last 12 months, almost 2,000 calls have been placed to an SDEC service, with the KGH Surgical SDEC line seeing a 30% rise in the first-time connection rate.

‘Northamptonshire ICB were the trailblazers of SDEC even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. They have embraced the concept, and by employing Consultant Connect, have a consistent means of reporting their activity’ – Celia Enderby, Account Manager at Consultant Connect.


WINNER for Urgent Care:

London Ambulance Service NHS Trust and North Central London ICB’s Urgent Community Response line

This year’s ‘Urgent Care Award’ goes to the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust (LAS) and North Central London (NCL) ICB for their Urgent Community Response line. The service was rolled out at the beginning of autumn 2023 and is provided by specialists across four organisations: Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, North Middlesex University Hospital, and Whittington Health NHS Trust.

The Urgent Community Response line allows for swift patient triage over the phone, which enables arrangements to be made, ensuring patients can be treated by community teams in the comfort of their homes, avoiding inappropriate admissions and lengthy hospital stays. Since launch, the service has received more than 600 calls, answered, on average, within 13 seconds. Of those calls, 79% have resulted in the patient being treated outside of a hospital environment.

‘The NCL Urgent Community Response Team were very clear in their objectives from the beginning of the project. We were able to build on the success of the launch of the adjacent Silver Triage phone service last year and launch new telephone pathways available to LAS. These were seamlessly added to the existing MiDOS directory, allowing for rapid and easy access for all of LAS.’ – Nick Smith, Account Manager at Consultant Connect.




The Maple Centre, Milton Keynes University Hospital

Just over a year ago, the Maple Centre opened at Milton Keynes University Hospital, providing a dedicated space for both Medicine and Surgical SDEC pathways to the population of Milton Keynes. Across Frailty, Medical and Surgical SDEC, over 2,500 calls were answered in the last 12 months, and we are delighted to recognise the Maple Centre for the ‘Urgent Care Award’.

‘It has been brilliant to participate in such a forward-thinking project. Using three SDEC lines for Frailty, Surgical, and Medical has provided the ability to correctly signpost patients and relieve pressure on ED. Alongside the SDEC line, the Frailty Team has also launched referrals into virtual ward hubs and initial triage through Advice & Guidance for teams such as SCAS, 111, GPs, Home First and Urgent Community Response. This is a great use of our platform to connect a range of NHS healthcare professionals and ensure patients stay in their homes where appropriate. Huge congratulations to the team!’ – Hayley Kassam, Account Manager at Consultant Connect.


WINNER for Mental Health:

Perinatal Mental Health in Hywel Dda University Health Board

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the ‘Mental Health Award’ goes to the Perinatal Mental Health service in Hywel Dda University Health Board. Implemented in November 2022, the Perinatal Mental Health line connects healthcare visitors, community midwives and GPs with the Perinatal Mental Health Team. Previously, direct access to the team was difficult and often under-utilised, resulting in patients being signposted to inappropriate pathways. The Perinatal Mental Health Consultant Connect project has led to improved knowledge of available and appropriate pathways, shifting to a patient-centric approach to care. The Perinatal Mental Health Team reviews cases before referral, creating more bespoke patient management plans.

‘The Perinatal Mental Health Team has established an amazing service to GPs, midwives, and health visitors, greatly improving the quality of signposting and care plans provided to patients. The team is highly engaged, with an amazing answer rate and a focus on recording accurate outcomes on the calls they take.’ – Bronwen Dunning, Account Manager at Consultant Connect.



HIGHLY COMMENDED for Mental Health:

Integrating mental and physical health services in South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Launched in February 2020, the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) Consultant Connect project enables mental health specialists to seek physical health A&G from neighbouring specialists at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. Consultant Connect was already commissioned to operate in South East London (SEL) ICB, offering a ready-made solution for improving communication and patient experience. With over 1,400 calls answered since launch, resulting in 75% of patients avoiding a referral, this bridges communication between mental health and acute care. As a result, we are pleased to highlight the SLaM project for the ‘Mental Health Award’.

‘The SLaM mental to physical health project has continued to go from strength to strength each year. Clinician feedback has been vital in understanding how valuable links between physical and mental health consultants are. We hope to be able to roll out additional links next year, making the service available to more of the SEL patch.’ – Nick Smith, Account Manager at Consultant Connect.


WINNER for Referral Triage:

Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust

Our 2023 winner for the ‘Referral Triage Award’ is the Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust. Back in May 2023, remote NHS consultant neurologists on the National Consultant Network (NCN) were brought in to clinically triage a backlog of over 1,000 neurology referrals. The project was delivered at pace suited to the needs of the Trust team so that they were not overwhelmed and could manage the workload effectively. The process and results were outstanding, with 49% of referrals being safely removed from the waiting list, including 41% returning to primary care with a detailed management plan, 4% redirected to another service, and 4% returning to primary care for further information. Of the remaining 50%, 5% were upgraded to urgent to be seen in the relevant clinic, and 45% were accepted for a routine appointment within the appropriate clinic, initiating diagnostics beforehand where needed.

‘This was a great project to be involved with, as the team at Mid Yorkshire was a real pleasure to collaborate with. The outcomes were outstanding, with over 40% of cases being returned to primary care and many more directed to the right place the first time. I look forward to working with the team again on future projects.’ – Stephen Lamb, Customer Success Manager at Consultant Connect.



HIGHLY COMMENDED for Referral Triage:

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

As the second of its kind project, we are pleased to recognise Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust for the ‘Referral Triage Award’. The Referral Triage and Validation project commenced in April 2023, utilising remote NHS consultant cardiologists on the NCN to clinically triage a backlog of cardiology referrals, including diagnostic reviews. More than 1,500 cardiology referrals have been triaged to date, with more batches planned for 2024.

So far, the outcomes have shown that 33% of referrals were suitable for return to the primary care provider with detailed A&G, including referrals where diagnostics were required, carried out and re-triaged. 5% of referrals were also identified as requiring an upgrade to an ‘urgent’ priority; referrals under this category were also booked for diagnostics and re-triaged as needed.

‘It’s brilliant to see another project utilising our ability to request and review diagnostics. It supports an improved first outpatient appointment, helping patients to be seen in the right setting faster. As a result, only 49% of the referrals required a routine consultant outpatient appointment.’ – Rae Workman, Customer Success Director at Consultant Connect.



WINNER for Photo Messaging Advice & Guidance:

University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire – Cardiology Messaging

We are excited to announce that University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire has been presented with the ‘Photo Messaging A&G Award’. Photo Messaging A&G was initially launched in Coventry and Rugby in June 2021 and has now replaced e-RS A&G with Cardiology Messaging A&G. This allows for faster communication, more detailed data relating to case outcomes, and better patient care.

Data from the last 12 months has shown that more than 1,700 cardiology messages have been sent for advice, with responses received, on average, within one working day. As a result, this has meant that 85% of patients have avoided an unnecessary admission or referral.

‘It’s fantastic to see University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire recognised for their commitment to using technology for smoother communications and ultimately higher quality patient care. I’ve enjoyed working with the team on the project, and this award is evidence of their hard work and dedication. Congratulations!’ – Marija Tofts, Account Manager at Consultant Connect.



HIGHLY COMMENDED for Photo Messaging Advice & Guidance:

Joined Up Care Derbyshire – Ophthalmology

Special mention for this year’s Photo Messaging A&G Award for ‘Joined Up Care Derbyshire’ and their Ophthalmology project. Provided across Chesterfield Royal Hospital and University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS, clinicians can use the service to send messages and photos for A&G. The service is suited to queries where advice is needed, such as in cases where symptoms are long-standing, incidental findings that may or may not have been noted by the patient or practice before, retinal concerns and personal educational development.

Launched in June 2021, more than 40 practices across Joined Up Care Derbyshire use the service. Across both Trusts, an average of 64% of messages resulted in patients avoiding a referral and receiving treatment in the community.

‘I’m delighted that Derbyshire clinicians are utilising technology well to rapidly connect with secondary care colleagues for timely A&G. This helps their patients to be on the right pathway the first time and get treatment quicker whilst reducing the ever-growing waitlists by decreasing unnecessary referrals.’ – Marija Tofts, Account Manager at Consultant Connect.


WINNER for PhotoSAF:

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

As uptake of the service continues to grow, we are delighted to announce that the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) is 2023’s winner of the ‘PhotoSAF Award’. UHL has embedded the IG-secure feature, PhotoSAF, in their dermatology pathway for all clinical photography. Team members share patient images before all procedures, ensuring efficiency and patient safety. Post procedure, any patient follow-ups are also conducted with the input of PhotoSAF to track patient recovery.

Since its launch in January 2016, UHL has safely shared almost 30,000 patient photos, ensuring the best levels of dermatology care. 

‘UHL values the clinically-safe photography function via the Consultant Connect App, and it’s great to see how many patients it supports. The team collaborates well with us to ensure ease of use, feedback, and onboarding of new team members. We have had a fantastic response on the speed of access, the support we offer and how the pathway using PhotoSAF delivers real benefits to patients and clinicians.’ – Ashley Backhouse, Customer Success Lead at Consultant Connect.



NHS Wakefield

In Wakefield, the IG-secure clinical photography feature, PhotoSAF, is used to take and store patient images to monitor ongoing conditions, such as mole mapping, and can be downloaded to attach to referrals. The project launched in February 2021, and in the last 12 months, more than 4,000 photos have been taken to ensure that high-quality and detailed photographs are captured. As such, it is a pleasure to highlight Wakefield for the ‘PhotoSAF Award’.

 ‘It has been a pleasure to work with the project in Wakefield; their level of engagement has been reflected in a huge increase in usage over 2023. In the last six months alone the level of use has increased by 164%.’ – David Marsh, Account Executive at Consultant Connect.


Please note that all outcome data relates to calls and/or photo messages where an outcome was reported.


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If you have any questions, or would like more information about our projects, call us on 01865 261 467 or email hello@consultantconnect.org.uk.


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