Consultant Connect’s Advice & Guidance (A&G) service was commissioned in 2016 across all three places in Warwickshire, now known as Coventry and Warwickshire ICB.
Across the ICB, 54 lines have been set up to date, allowing rapid access to A&G for Primary Care clinicians from both local and out-of-area NHS consultants on the National Consultant Network (NCN).
Over the last year, more than 6,000 calls have been placed via the service, with, on average, 64% of calls resulting in patients avoiding unnecessary trips to hospital across elective specialties, meaning more patients were treated in the right place by the right clinician the first time.
What started as a project focused on A&G provision has since seen significant ICB-wide and localised place-based expansions and innovations:
Across the ICB
- Patient Record Integration: Over 9,000 records have successfully been transferred to the patient record, freeing up valuable clinical and administrative time and ensuring accurate documentation of a patient’s condition.
- Paediatrics Suspected Childhood Cancer (2WW) pathway: This pathway allows GPs to get in touch instantly with a local Paediatrician at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire for any suspected childhood cancer cases. An appointment can then be requested by using Consultant Connect to message the local team. Since launch, over 300 calls have been placed, 38% resulting in a referral being avoided.
- Referral Triage: Our Referral Triage service has been supporting to reduce RTT waiting times across the area. To date, over 5,000 referrals (backlogs and new referrals) across a number of specialties have been triaged by out-of-area NHS consultants on the NCN. The triage work has resulted in clinically validated and prioritised waiting lists, ensuring patients are seen in the place most suitable for their care.
Across South Warwickshire
- WMAS to Frailty: West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) staff use Consultant Connect to call the Frailty Unit at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) to discuss how best to navigate their patients. Over 2,000 calls have been placed since launch, 37% of which resulted in the patient being triaged in the community or given advice for self-care, ensuring frail older patients in crisis avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.
- Community Teams: Over 600 calls have been placed by GPs to the local Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) Community Team, with 28% of these resulting in a referral being avoided.
- PIFU and Patient Connect: Consultant Connect’s PIFU solution enables patients to initiate an IG-secure virtual consultation with a specialist clinician, reducing unnecessary visits to hospital, patient waiting times and releasing the clinical teams to see patients they need to see. Over 15,000 calls have been placed by patients to various specialists within SWFT.
- MDTs: SWFT use Consultant Connect for their Diabetic Podiatry Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT). The MDT includes 5 sub-specialties. All members of the MDT can start messages based on their patient’s case and share them within the designated sub-specialties. They can also include photos with their messages to aid team discussion. In the last year, over 160 messages and more than 800 photos have been shared via the service.
Across Coventry and Rugby and Warwickshire North
Clinicians use Consultant Connect to message Secondary Care teams for A&G. Recently, this has replaced eRS for obtaining Advice & Guidance from Cardiology and General Dermatology:
- In Dermatology, across Coventry and Rugby and Warwickshire North: over 500 messages have been sent since October 2022, 52% of which resulted in a referral being avoided.
- In Cardiology, across Coventry and Rugby: over 750 messages have been sent in the last year, 80%of which resulted in a referral being avoided.
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*Data relates to A&G interactions where an outcome was recorded.