The HSJ shared their analysis of data from the latest General Medical Council national training survey revealing the top and bottom trusts for overall experience for junior doctors. Current working pressures and patterns are having a profound effect on the physical and mental health of junior doctors, some of whom are only at the very beginning of their career.
If the NHS is to attract and maintain the best staff to care for its patients, urgent steps need to be taken to support and motivate the junior doctors who work within it.
That’s where professional-to-professional advice systems come in. By using technology to improve what they already had rather than starting from scratch, NHS Tayside were able to support their junior doctors quickly and economically by connecting them rapidly to senior colleagues. And patients have benefited.
Support is available immediately to junior doctors by calling a single number to reach a rota of consultants available at the region’s main hospital, Ninewells in Dundee. Junior doctors at the smaller Perth Royal Infirmary can also use the number to source advice from a consultant out-of-hours. To date junior doctors have made over 22,000 internal calls to consultant colleagues at the same hospital for advice, supporting efficient admission and discharge decisions.
Consultants who want to remain on the ‘prof-to-prof’ rota but have personal commitments or need to work from home can still offer advice to junior doctors when they can’t be in hospital. It’s a better, more modern way of working.
Prior to working with Consultant Connect junior doctors faced a variety of communication challenges including getting through to hospital switchboards at busy times, and then making contact with the right professional. There was also a question of governance: the calls weren’t routinely recorded and although clinicians were supposed to write up the advice, they had given in a book laid out for the purpose, this didn’t always happen. A big advantage of the ‘prof-to-prof’ system is the fact that all calls are recorded, giving a real-time record of the advice that was given, improving safety and governance.
In addition to our work with NHS Tayside, many other Hospitals we work with are increasingly encouraging all staff teams to use Consultant Connect for quicker communication across hospital.
One cardiologist told us; “I had a patient yesterday that needed a referral to derm. I used the Consultant Connect App to take a photo of the lesion and then shared this with the derm team along with notes in under a minute! I also use the App to phone other teams because my call is usually answered in about 30 seconds!”
One service manager told us; “Geographical location is no longer a barrier between our complex teams, and I can monitor use of the service via the data reports that Consultant Connect send me. Teams like the fact calls are recorded because we can use these for training.”
‘Prof-to-prof’ is far better for staff – and for the NHS. But it’s also better for the junior doctors, who get to learn on-the-job from senior clinicians and who get to sleep at night, knowing their decisions were the right ones.
If you have any questions or would like to find out how we can help your NHS area, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01865 261467.