Get ready for winter this summer

Published: 15th May 2024
We’re working with trusts and commissioners across the NHS to make their telephone advice lines and call before convey strategies more reliable, to be ready by September, in time for winter.
Winter Resilience Plans | Advice & Guidance can help - Consultant Connect

Keeping patients out of hospital by ensuring that only those who need to be seen face-to-face attend is key to reducing pressures and increasing productivity. ‘Right place first time’ is not new, but the impact only kicks in once implemented reliably and at scale.

Giving clinicians a Single Point of Access via rapid telephone advice service is one major contributor:

  • Individual phone lines don’t work – GPs and paramedics can’t be expected to keep track of all pathways, telephone numbers and opening times. Having all access points in one place makes use easier, which in turn nurtures usage. Usage nurtures impact, and you can see where this is going: In South East London for example, GPs and paramedics place over 4,000 advice requests to local trusts per month – and over 50% of those cases no longer require hospital.
  • Speed is key – Calls get answered in less than 27 seconds (average) as the system enables clinicians to directly ‘hunt down’ a specialist consultant from a pre-defined rota for expert telephone advice. This means no time is wasted on busy switchboards or bleeps. In 2023, callers got through to a consultant on their first attempt in 82% of cases. Again, this reliability nurtures usage, which nurtures impact.
  • Data informs pathways – knowing when calls come in and when they get answered lets you ensure supply meets demand.
  • It is quick to roll out – with no hardware or software barriers to hold you up, your Consultant Connect project can be rolled out in 6-12 weeks.
What our data tells you:

For over eight years, Consultant Connect has been a critical part of winter plans for NHS areas. The service covers over 40 million patients across the UK, and this year will be no different.

Outcome data across our projects shows how patients benefit profoundly when clinicians use rapid telephone advice:

  • 68% of telephone advice calls to elective specialties result in the patient avoiding a trip to hospital, 10% of which are sent to have diagnostic tests
  • 36% of calls from ambulance staff avoid unnecessary patient conveyances
  • 26% of GP calls to urgent care specialties result in the patient avoiding an unnecessary hospital visit, and a further 26% of calls result in the patient being signposted away from A&E to a more appropriate setting. The remaining 47% that need an admission are directed to the right place first time.
What to expect from a Consultant Connect rollout:
  • Proven launch plan – our experience in rolling out our services to over half the NHS across the UK means you can rely on our proven implementation tools to ensure projects go live within the minimum possible time.
  • Clinician engagement plan – with ICB/Health Board and Hospital/Trust agreement, we do all the ‘heavy lifting’ of engaging with clinicians (primary care/ambulance staff) who will be making the calls and the clinical teams at the Hospital/Trust who will be answering them.
  • Comprehensive information governance (IG) pack – covering all IG requirements to ensure a safe and smooth implementation.
  • Dedicated Account Management team – who take a consultative approach, collaborating with key stakeholders to understand objectives, priorities and pressure points before developing a project strategy and implementing supporting tactics.


If you have any questions about how our flexible solutions can support your area’s winter resilience strategies, email or call us on 01865 261 467.

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