Moving SDEC access to Consultant Connect

Published: 25th July 2022
Moving your SDEC access to Consultant Connect provides a single referral route and point of access for ambulance teams and primary care clinicians to navigate patients.
Moving SDEC access to Consultant Connect - Consultant Connect

We’ve spoken at length about how effective Advice & Guidance can be at preventing unnecessary hospital trips.

Advice & Guidance means that many patients can get the input of a consultant into their care without a face-to-face appointment. It’s another “remote-first, talk before the patient walks” approach with obvious benefits.

We often find, though, that the NHS talks about urgent care separately from elective care when it comes to advice and guidance. We advise that you treat them the same. For urgent care, there is no substitute for advice over the telephone if you are thinking of sending a patient in as an emergency.

Put Advice & Guidance at the centre of the primary to secondary care communications process.


Same day emergency care


One of the key elements of the National same day emergency care (SDEC) Strategy launched in May 2021, is to ensure access to SDEC is integrated system wide. This includes making SDEC available across all parts of the healthcare system (e.g. 111, 999, Primary Care and mental health) so that patients are navigated to the right service first time. Because not all patients need to come in, the key to SDEC is pre referral advice. For those that come, it is good to plan ahead. For example, our SDEC projects where paramedics access telephone advice show that for 30% of calls, the patient will no longer be conveyed. For another third, a pre-alert will be put in place.

In line with the National SDEC Strategy, many NHS areas have set up SDEC services to streamline care and make it as efficient as possible for clinicians and their patients to get the urgent care they need.

However, the processes are not always the same at every hospital; different phone numbers, patients referred via GP letters or ambulance teams, others referred to the on call medical registrar through switchboard. This often means that the clinician and patient need to wait a considerable amount to time to get through to the SDEC team, and navigating the patient to the right service, first time. In fact, some NHS areas have told us that it can take up to 30 minutes at times to get connected to the SDEC team in this way.

That is why more of our NHS partners are moving their SDEC access to Consultant Connect, to provide a single referral route and point of access for ambulance teams and primary care clinicians to navigate SDEC patients. 

Moving SDEC access to Consultant Connect means:

  • Faster call connection time (27seconds UK average)
  • A standardised process for all
  • A single referral route and point of access
  • Volumes of calls are tracked
  • Calls are recorded for medico-legal purposes
  • The patient pathway is tracked
  • Outcomes are reported


The rich data reports from the Consultant Connect service give areas full transparency of SDEC activity and enables areas to audit and monitor referral activity demand and outcomes.


Our project in NHS South East London ICS is a shining example of this working in practice. They have set up links to efficiently route GPs to their same day emergency care (SDEC) services, allowing for a more specialised approach when it comes to treating patients requiring urgent medical care. You can find out more here.

As you would expect with Consultant Connect, all our solutions are IG secure and GDPR compliant. Consultant Connect can be implemented in as little as a month, meaning the impact is immediate.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how Consultant Connect can help your area’s urgent care strategy, email or call us on 01865 261 467.

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