Proven approaches to meet the NHS targets

Published: 28th June 2022
These three proven, measurable approaches are already helping NHS areas meet the 2022/23 priorities and operational planning guidance targets.
Proven approaches to meet the NHS targets - Consultant Connect

These three proven, measurable approaches are already helping NHS areas meet the 2022/23 priorities and operational planning guidance targets:

Requirement: 16 advice and guidance requests / triages per 100 outpatient first attendance by March 2023


Requirement: expanding the uptake of PIFU to all major outpatient specialties, moving or discharging 5% of outpatient attendances to PIFU pathways by March 2023

1. Enhanced Advice & Guidance

The requirement for the delivery of advice and guidance requests per 100 outpatient first attendances, or equivalent via other triage approaches is achievable by systems using Consultant Connect for Advice & Guidance. The Elective Recovery Outpatient Collection (EROC) codes have already been built into our Advice & Guidance solutions meaning Consultant Connect data can be directly submitted to NHSE as part of your EROC data set, removing any potential admin burden for the systems we work with.

For your Advice & Guidance service to work successfully the responding clinicians need to answer the requests. This may sound obvious, but no amount of encouraging clinicians to use Advice & Guidance can overcome an unreliable service. Local advice from a local clinician is always the best option, but, if a local clinician is not available systems have been using our switch on/switch off virtual NHS consultant service to answer calls and respond to written requests and ultimately free up local resources. Over 70% of calls to National Consultant Network clinicians result in the patient avoiding hospital.

2. Referral Triage

It’s well known that triaging all incoming referrals ensures the right pathways first time. But resourcing this approach can be tricky. Our Referral Triage service has been delighting systems with impressive results. For example, Northampton General Hospital uses the service for its triage approach, and currently, 27% of referrals are being returned to GPs in primary care with advice. Around 20% of these referrals include a recommendation to arrange tests.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn (QEHKL) ran a pilot project focussing on the first outpatient’s waiting list for 1,000 Cardiology referrals, 25% of referrals were returned to GPs in primary care with advice, 29% of referrals were booked for diagnostics only. This represents a significant freeing up of outpatient capacity with over 50% of referrals reviewed not requiring a first outpatient appointment.

A Trust in the North of England has recently started using Referral Triage to reduce waiting lists in ENT and Urology. The early data shows just how much can be achieved in just a couple of weeks, with 27% of ENT referrals returned to GPs in primary care with advice and 25% of referrals in Urology returned to GPs in primary care with advice.

3. Patient Initiated Follow Up Service

Our Patient Initiated Follow Up Service (PIFU) reduces unnecessary visits to hospital, patient waiting times and releases the clinical teams to see patients in a more timely manner. There is no doubt that this is the simplest, most effective way of delivering follow-up consultations where the clinician does not need to see the patient. Our PIFU services are being used successfully across the UK.

For further information on how we can support the delivery of the operational planning guidance requirements, please contact us on 01865 261467 or email

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