Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (LDH) is a highly rated acute hospital, providing medical and surgical services for over 350,000 people in Bedfordshire, the north of Hertfordshire and parts of Buckinghamshire.
Part of LDH’s success is their use of a rapid Telephone Advice & Guidance service, provided by Consultant Connect. The service includes a GP Liaison line and Urgent Paediatric Advice & Guidance line.
GP Liaison line
The award-winning GP Liaison line is staffed by nurses who offer telephone advice and guidance to primary care clinicians on the most appropriate pathway for a patient as well as facilitate alternatives if applicable. It is this team that Sally Shaw, Service Manager and lead nurse for community liaison heads up.
If a GP wants to send a patient to hospital, the GP will call the GP Liaison team first. This enables the acute trust to know who is coming and why, and also ensures the patient is sent to the right place, first time. It’s a high impact quick-win.
In May 2019, the Primary Care Journal interviewed Sally Shaw about how the GP Liaison service is helping to streamline the patient journey. In the article Sally shared data and explained how she helped develop the service.
GP Liaison line results year-on-year at a glance
There’s no contractual obligation for practices to use the GP Liaison service which makes Luton’s results even more impressive. They take more of a partnership approach rather than enforcing a process on GPs. Delivering a high answer rate is key to increasing the use of the service.
Yasmeen Farooqi, Programme Commissioning Manager, NHS Luton CCG:
“The CCG and Trust work in collaboration to continuously improve Consultant Connect’s Telephone Advice and Guidance service and offer GPs the support and tools needed to better manage their patient cohort. Our approach being more of a partnership with our stakeholders gives GPs the flexibility to use the service as and when they deem appropriate.”
Urgent Paediatric Advice & Guidance
Interestingly a similar but separate setup is in place for paediatric patients, with GPs able to use the Consultant Connect service to rapidly speak to urgent paediatric consultants for advice, guidance and direct referrals into the Paediatric Assessment Unit.
Urgent Paediatric Advice & Guidance year-on-year results at a glance
Once again, there is no contractual obligation for GPs and the Acute Trust to use the service. In a similar way to the GP Liaison line, it is more of a partnership approach rather than enforcing a process on GPs and consultants and, all sides see the benefits of the pathway in bringing primary and secondary care closer together.
New elective care specialties available
Given the success of the GP Liaison Line and Urgent Paediatric Advice & Guidance line in bringing primary and secondary care closer together it’s no surprise that more specialties have recently come onto the service, including several elective care specialties: Cardiology – Heart Failure Only, Neurology and Respiratory Medicine. More specialties are due to launch in the coming months, and we have recently launched a pilot project with the Neurology team for both MS Patients and Patients taking part in Medical Research.