Consultant Connect cited in NHS CQUIN 2017 – 2019 engagement draft

Published: 12th October 2016

consultant-connect-faviconNHS England has published its NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2017 – 2019. As part of this it also published a draft of the proposed CQUIN arrangements for the same period. You can access the documents here:

The proposed CQUIN scheme 2017 – 2019 enables providers to earn up to 2.5% of annual contract value if they deliver objectives set out in the scheme. Of these objectives, 0.25% of annual contract value is linked to the introduction of Advice and Guidance services in acute providers.

Section 5 of Annex A (page 41) explains that the CQUIN applies to structured, non-urgent Advice & Guidance. Specialties mentioned as offering opportunity include clinical haematology, diabetes and endocrinology, cardiology, gastroenterology and gynaecology (all Consultant Connect staples).

The document identifies Consultant Connect as an example of “synchronous” (immediate) Advice and Guidance and quotes the following figures from our Stockport project:

“Synchronous A&G via a telephony system:

Stockport: Use of the Consultant Connect system for immediate advice from consultants over the telephone. Over the period 22/2/15 – 15/4/16:

  • Call connection rate – 76% (and increasing)
  • Average call answering time – 40 seconds
  • Average call duration – 3 minutes 44 seconds
  • Percentage of calls avoiding a hospital outpatient appointment 59% (70% if the request for purely diagnostics is included.)”

The document identifies referral volumes as the key indicator but also requires data on “supporting indicators”: the average number of GP A&G queries relative to GP referrals and GP A&G queries which lead to referrals. It then goes on to propose milestones related to timely rolling out of the project and expansion over the two year period to cover specialties that account for the bulk of GP referrals.

As you can imagine, we’re very pleased to be included in the CQUIN document as an example of best practice but even more pleased at the focus being given to Advice & Guidance as a tool for sparing patients and the NHS from unnecessary hospital visits. We are also pleased that Trusts stand to benefit financially from implementing Advice & Guidance schemes: it is a just reward for the benefits that better communication between primary and secondary care will bring.

If you would like to discuss running a Consultant Connect Advice & Guidance project in your area, including how we can assist your Trust in achieving the milestones set out in the draft CQUIN document, please contact us on 01865 267467 or email us on 

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