Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most. For a brief overview of Consultant Connect services, please click here. If you have any additional questions or need service support from us, please call us on 01865 261467 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Consultant Connect only works in the NHS.
How can the service be accessed?
The quickest way to access the service is via the free Consultant Connect App (download on the App Store or Google Play). Only devices running on an Apple operating system (iOS) of 15 and above or an Android operating system of 11 and above will support the Consultant Connect App. This is to comply with the latest data protection regulations. Within the app, clinicians can make Telephone A&G calls at the touch of a button as specialty access numbers are pre-programmed.
The Consultant Connect App is a cloud-based service, and therefore, no patient information is stored on the device or within the app. This includes the safe clinical photography feature – PhotoSAF. Photos taken via the app are stored in an IG-secure and GDPR-compliant cloud and not on the device, meaning photos won’t appear on your camera roll or in the recently deleted folder. The photos are automatically sent to your NHS email address and can also be accessed via Consultant Connect in your browser from any device by logging in using your credentials for the app. In areas where sharing is enabled, photos and messages can also be sent within the app directly to specialist teams for A&G.
Telephone A&G can also be accessed by calling your surgery’s unique Dial-In Number from any phone. Your Dial-In Number, the specialties you have access to, and their operating hours can be found in your Service Directory. If you do not have your Dial-In Number or Service Directory link, please contact the Consultant Connect Team at email@example.com.
The time it takes a clinician to connect to a specialist for Telephone A&G is just 27 seconds (UK average).
If you are a locum clinician, work within multiple organisations, or have recently changed practice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for us to provide you with the correct access.
Is the service free?
I have forgotten my password, what should I do?
Does the service replace other Advice & Guidance (A&G) routes?
No, this service aims to provide users with additional options for quicker and more efficient access to advice and guidance. Pre-existing routes, such as email and local referral systems, will continue to be available.
Which specialties can be accessed and during what hours of the day?
The specialties available and the hours of operation are agreed upon by the Acute/Mental Health Trust/Hospital Teams and your local NHS commissioning organisation.
Calls will only be routed to specialists during the agreed hours of operation. Calls will not be routed to specialists outside of these agreed hours, and specialists are automatically excluded from rotas during any notified periods of holiday. Mobile numbers of those seeking and providing advice and guidance are never shared with users.
As well as the Consultant Connect App showing a full list of the available specialties, and their operating hours, each GP practice has a Service Directory listing this information. The Consultant Connect App and Service Directory are automatically updated whenever changes are made to the service, such as new specialties being added.
Who is responsible for the patient whose care is being discussed?
The clinician seeking the advice remains responsible for deciding what treatment is to be provided following receipt of the guidance and whether a referral or admission is appropriate for the patient.
Why do users need to input the NHS number?
The NHS number is attached to the medico-legal call recordings and Photo/Message PDFs to assist subsequent retrieval by relevant GP practices and/or hospital teams should it be necessary as a patient identifier.
In England, an NHS number is required for Consultant Connect activity to automatically integrate with Primary Care records.
If no NHS number is input by the Primary Care clinician, the recordings/PDFs can still be tracked by a date/time reference.
If you don’t have access to the patient’s NHS number, you will still be able to initiate an advice query.
Why is providing the outcome important?
Leaving an outcome allows your commissioning organisation to monitor the effectiveness of the service. The information also supports the addition of new specialties to the service.
In England, an outcome left after seeking A&G is required for Consultant Connect activity to integrate with Primary Care records.
Will specialists have access to any patient records?
Specialists are often away from their desks when they take a call. You should assume that the specialists will not have access to any patient records. Any advice given will be based entirely on the information that is provided by you to the specialists via telephone/photo/message.
Can I send messages for Advice & Guidance via the Consultant Connect App?
Yes, in areas where this feature has been enabled, clinicians can click on the ‘Messages’ button within the Consultant Connect App to compose and send messages to specialists.
Can I send a message for advice if I don’t have a mobile phone?
Whilst the Consultant Connect App is a secure and reliable way to send messages and share patient photos, you can also send messages and share photos sent by patients from your computer. Once logged in to Consultant Connect in your browser using the same credentials you use to log into the app, you can upload images sent by patients (e.g., for Teledermatology*) or files (e.g., ECGs, echo reports, scans, or x-rays) for specialist advice.
* Please see this step-by-step guide on Patient Initiated Teledermatology or watch this 40-second video for more detail.
How do I transfer photos and messages from Consultant Connect to patient records?
If enabled in your area, our technology integrates directly into existing Primary Care patient record NHS workflows in England (call activity, photos, and messages). This has removed the need for this process to be conducted manually, freeing up valuable clinical and administrative time whilst ensuring accurate documentation of the patient’s condition/concern.
Photos and Messages are also sent to the Primary Care clinician via email as a PDF summary and can be downloaded in your browser by admin staff or a medical secretary.
Is there a limit on the size of an image I can send for Advice & Guidance?
Images up to 211MB can be uploaded without loss of resolution, and this compares to limits of 10MB or less on other systems, such as email. This means that Messaging can be used for large files such as dermatoscopic images and OCT scans.
Whom should I call for help with the service?
For any service/technical queries, please call the Consultant Connect Team on 01865 261467 or email us at email@example.com.