The Telephone Advice & Guidance project, commissioned by NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group and delivered by Consultant Connect, has been running for four years. Consultant Connect enables GPs and other healthcare professionals to speak immediately with specialists to get advice on how to treat their patients. A GP or other clinician accesses the service either by dialling a phone number or using the Consultant Connect App. After choosing a specialty from a menu they are connected with a specialist in an average time of just 25 seconds.
The project has now been expanded to give adult mental health, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS), learning disability clinicians and the iSPA Care Co-ordination (iCC) access to all physical health specialties via Consultant Connect. The iCC team is hosted via South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust but delivers across all three CCGs in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Rob Holmes, Mental Health lead commented on the service: “We have recently rolled out Consultant Connect to medical colleagues in Mental Health, CAMHS and Learning Disability Services across Coventry and Warwickshire. The offer from the CCG came at a really opportune time as COVID-19 was beginning to take hold and patients in our service were starting to test positive. Our anxieties around this were understandably high and the news of ready access to specialist physical health advice from local acute trust consultants was welcomed and added to our confidence in delivering an integrated health care response. Feedback so far has been very positive.”
It is of course extremely important mental health patients feel comfortable, secure and confident that both their mental and physical health needs are being met. This project aims to achieve true integration and improve patient care.
Scott Maddock, Head of Commissioning at NHS Warwickshire North CCG commented: “Key to delivering safe services to patients is ensuring the right decision is made early in the patient pathway. Consultant Connect has provided our GPs with an opportunity to have a direct conversation with specialist consultants to provide advice and guidance on the best pathway for the patient. We are delighted to extend Consultant Connect to the ICC team and our Mental Health colleagues so that we can ensure more patients are getting access to the right treatment in primary care without having to attend an outpatient appointment.”
Project detail in a nutshell:
The following teams now have access to 18 specialties across 3 local trusts; George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust (GEH), University Hospitals of Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW), South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT).
|Teams using new service:||Patients covered by new service:|
The iSPA Care Co-ordination (iCC)*
In care homes
Clinicians at three Adult Mental Health Inpatient Wards
· Caludon Centre
· St Michaels Hospital
· Manor Hospital
· Brooklands Hospital (Adult & Children Learning disability hospital)
|Mental Health Inpatients|
- Supporting Mental Health patients in a pandemic
- Greenwich – a much quicker response to Mental Health needs
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