The First Consultant Connect Advice & Guidance Awards

Published: 9th December 2020
This week we are publishing part one of Consultant Connect’s NHS Advice & Guidance Awards. Read on to find out the top three projects in the UK...

It’s difficult writing anything about 2020 that isn’t related to the incredible challenges faced by the NHS this year. Thank you NHS, it’s been a privilege to work alongside you.

2020 was also the five year anniversary of our first ever Consultant Connect project and we’re marking the occasion by handing out our first ever Advice & Guidance Awards. As well as the glory of victory, all winners are receiving a donation to each hospital charity. Next week we’ll be sharing the winners of the awards for various special categories, this week honours the best overall projects in the Consultant Connect universe.


NHS Advice & Guidance: Best Overall Projects 2020

All Consultant Connect projects were scored according to the number of advice and guidance requests they received in the last 12 months per capita, the breadth of their service offering and their call / message answer rates.  And the winners are:


1. Bath, Swindon, and Wiltshire ICS including Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH), Great Western Hospital (GWH) and Salisbury (SFT) NHS Foundation Trusts

RUH was one of our first customers in late 2015 and their project started with GPs from Bath and NE Somerset being given immediate telephone access to clinicians in 4 specialties at RUH. Since then the project has grown to GPs throughout the BSW STP accessing 39 hospital specialties for telephone and photo-messaging advice and guidance.

Roger Tweedale, Director at Consultant Connect, recalls the early days:

“I live in Bath and I remember how much I wanted my friends and family to benefit from this new service that was already working so brilliantly in a couple of other areas. When we met Ruth Grabham and William Hubbard at the then Bath and NE Somerset CCG and RUH respectively it was clear that they had a real vision and we were determined to live up to it. Even so, I don’t think any of us expected how quickly it would take off and be adopted by GPs and hospital doctors alike. I’ve spoken with lots of doctors about how the service has made a material difference to how they work with GP and consultant colleagues for the benefit of patients, which has been so rewarding. Even now, though, five years later, the project continues to grow and we continue to launch new services. It’s a remarkable example of the transformative impact of communications and a testament to the brilliant clinicians and management in Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire”.

Further project information:


2. Southeast London ICS, including Guy’s and St Thomas’s, King’s, Lewisham and Greenwich Trust, Oxleas Trust, and South London and Maudsley Trust

In 2016, a small, 4-specialty project in Greenwich feeding into Lewisham Hospital was the acorn from which the mighty SE London project grew. As the geographic footprint of the project expanded into the neighbouring boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Lambeth, Southwark, and Lewisham, so did the ambition of management. SEL was the first project to embrace all “Enhanced Advice & Guidance”, including telephone, photo-messaging, and using the National Consultant Network to support local teams when they couldn’t answer the phone themselves. The impact on patient care has been large.

Jonathan Patrick, CEO of Consultant Connect, has been involved in the project from day one:
“The pleasure of dealing with Southeast London has always been brilliant people wrestling with tricky problems. They’ve really forced us to up our game and continue to develop the CC platform. For example, the National Consultant Network was formed in part because we had certain days where some local teams just didn’t have the physical capacity to take calls from GPs and they needed a solution. Now most of our projects use the Network. I work closely with David Reith [Associate Director, SE London CCG] his advice is unfailingly brilliant whenever we’re thinking of changing anything or introducing something new.”

Further project information:


3. Bedford, Luton, Milton Keynes ICS, including Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton and Dunstable Trusts
Luton was Consultant Connect’s first urgent care project, launching in 2016. Pioneering the “patient streaming” approach that many areas are now replicating, a team of Advanced Nurse Practitioners enables around 80% of patients to bypass A&E and go straight to where they can be treated. Expansion of the service into paediatrics continued the momentum of this flagship project. Milton Keynes launched its own project later in 2017, focusing on elective care across a wide range of services. Bedford joined in 2020 and now the project is moving towards offering full elective and urgent care services across the STP footprint.
Scott Welpton, Director at Consultant Connect, has worked closely with the STP:
“It still seems like yesterday that Caroline Capell, who was at Luton CCG at the time, came to meet with us to propose a model for working in urgent care. We’d been focused on elective, but she persuaded us we were missing a trick and we launched the legendary Luton GP Liaison line not knowing what to expect. We needn’t have worried, the volume of calls and the stratospherically high answer rates they achieved made us realise what was possible in a telephony project. The mantle was well and truly picked up by Milton Keynes, driven by Michael Ramsden who is a fantastically knowledgeable and productive colleague to work with. The decision to go STP-wide was the right one, and we’re enjoying seeing the project grow into something well beyond what we first imagined.”

Further project information:


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