The need for new ways of delivering services during COVID-19 has demonstrated what can be achieved to keep people safe by using technology, in addition to traditional face-to-face care.
Technology will be a key enabler in NHS Scotland’s plan for all Health Boards to have Flow Navigation Hubs in hospitals from 1st December 2020. Instead of direct access to A&E departments for non-life-threatening conditions, help will be firstly available through NHS 24 -111. This will be available 24/7 for urgent care needs – where conditions cannot wait to be seen at the local GP practice.
Each Flow Navigation Hub will directly receive clinical referrals from NHS 24. They will offer rapid access to a senior clinical decision maker within the multidisciplinary team, optimising digital health through a telephone consultation, minimising the need to attend A&E.
With 1st December 2020 just around the corner, Health Boards need to work at pace to achieve this ambition. Consultant Connect is well placed to help Health Boards achieve this target as most Consultant Connect Advice & Guidance projects can be launched within a matter of days following project approval.
Right Care, in the Right Place, at the Right Time
Flow Navigation Hubs are just one of the key priority changes in NHS Scotland’s wider Redesign of Urgent Care Programme. The strategic aim for this programme is “Right Care, in the Right Place, at the Right Time”.
Following the success of Consultant Connect in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Tayside, NHS Lanarkshire launched their Consultant Connect service for Elective and Urgent care this week including a Flow Navigation Hub that is available 24/7.
This means that 40% of the population in Scotland is now covered by Consultant Connect.
To set up projects like these, the Consultant Connect team works closely with Health Boards who have commissioned the service and local hospital teams to establish defined rotas of local specialists for the service. The hospital teams can then provide free app-based access to local GP practices, ambulance teams, district nursing teams, and other internal hospital teams (for cross-hospital calling) as appropriate.
More widely, Consultant Connect is in place in over 80 Health Boards/CCGs across the UK – total coverage of over 29 million patients.
The UK average call connection speed is just 27 seconds and calls connect with specialists via a direct dial or mobile number, thereby avoiding the use of switchboards.
Monitoring impact on patient care
Activity and outcome data are collected daily by Consultant Connect and this can be regularly reported to Health Boards and hospital teams so that they can easily monitor the effectiveness and use of the service. All calls are recorded for medico-legal purposes and the service is entirely IG secure and GDPR compliant.
For more information on the use of Consultant Connect including the impact of COVID-19, please read our recent data analysis. Here’s the Urgent Care data extract: