Long-Term Conditions: 3 ways we can help

Published: 19th July 2023
Three examples of how Consultant Connect services are being used to help clinicians align to provide a more patient-centred approach for people with long-term conditions.
Still the easiest bit of the NHS Long Term Plan? - Consultant Connect

It’s estimated that over a quarter of the population in England have a long-term health condition, which accounts for approximately 70% of the money we spend on health and social care a year.

The NHS priorities and operational planning guidance for 2023/24 states that ‘prevention and the effective management of long-term conditions are key to improving population health and curbing the ever-increasing demand for healthcare services.’

Caring for the needs of people with long-term conditions requires a partnership between patients and clinicians over a longer period, rather than providing single unconnected episodes of care.


In this article, we share three examples of how Consultant Connect services are being used to help healthcare professionals align to provide a more patient-centred approach for people with long-term conditions:


1. Patient-Initiated Follow-Up (PIFU)

In Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes ICB, an MS PIFU line is available for patients with long-term neurological conditions. The line allows patients to call through a rota of nurses without disclosing personal mobile numbers. As all calls are recorded for medico-legal purposes, and outcomes are recorded, the Neurology Team can track the data and assess the usage of the service.


‘I can change the rota, add people onto it, change the telephone numbers. The brilliant thing about it is that you can divert the calls to anybody, anywhere in the world; it doesn’t matter. I can identify the number of incoming calls and the outcomes, which is excellent.’

– Hüseyin Hüseyin, Neurology Operational Lead.  


To date*, the MS PIFU line has received over 1,500 calls, which are answered, on average, in 25 seconds. Of these calls, where outcomes were reported, only 26% resulted in an admission or appointment.

Find out more about our PIFU services here.


2. Enhanced Telephone Advice & Guidance (A&G)

Our Telephone A&G service rapidly connects healthcare professionals with specialists in less than 30 seconds (UK average). For many specialties, the rapid nature of Telephone A&G helps improve knowledge and expertise for Primary Care clinicians to assist in the future management of patients with similar conditions.

This is why Telephone A&G is so helpful in supporting the management of patients with long-term conditions.


Consultant Gastroenterologist, Dr Rex J Polson, regularly answers calls for advice which prevents unnecessary hospital admissions for patients with long-term conditions:

‘If a patient has or has had a label of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and they present with a change of bowel habit or bleeding, the immediate assumption is that it’s a flare of IBD. When you talk it through, in some cases, it may be more likely to be an infective episode.

Having the conversation with a consultant helps the clinician find the correct direction they should be pursuing for the patient and puts them on the right pathway.’


Find out more about Enhanced Telephone A&G here.


3. Enhanced Photo Messaging A&G

Many Photo Messaging A&G lines used across the UK are preventing patients with long-term conditions from unnecessarily attending hospitals.

In one case, a GP needed advice for a patient with known cardiovascular disease who was suffering from leg oedema after reporting a grossly abnormal ECG. The GP was unsure whether the changes were acute or due to the patient’s pacemaker, as there were no previous ECGs in the patient’s record for comparison.

The GP sent images of the patient’s ECG to a local cardiologist via the Consultant Connect App for review.


‘The GP and patient were worried, not so much about the patient’s clinical condition but, about the ECG results. I was happy to reassure the GP that the ECG itself was not concerning.’

– Dr Patrick Davey, Consultant Cardiologist.


As a result of quick advice, the patient was able to get the input of a specialist for management in the community without needing to attend hospital.

Find out more about Enhanced Photo Messaging A&G here.


* Data correct as of July 2023.

If you have any questions or would like to find out how any of the above-mentioned services can support your NHS area, email hello@consultantconnect.org.uk or call us on 01865 261467.

- Consultant Connect

Contact us

For more information about how we work with commissioners, hospitals and mental health trusts to improve patient care, please get in touch.

- Consultant Connect

Join a webinar

Listen to health experts from the comfort of your desk as we bring the experts to you in our series of online webinars.

- Consultant Connect

Join our mailing list

Join our mailing list and we'll keep you informed of our latest blogs, project news, and upcoming webinar dates and topics.