Consultant Connect rolled out at pace in May 2020 in partnership with NHS North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (NCL CCG). NCL CCG was formally established in April 2020, bringing together five north London boroughs – Barnet, Camden, Haringey and Islington. Barnet is the second borough within the CCG to implement Consultant Connect, the first being Enfield – you can read more about this by reading our Enfield Area Case Study.
Initially Barnet launched Consultant Connect to support key services during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The service launched with a broad access to NHS consultants on the National Consultant Network (NCN), in many specialties. Especially important was the Teledermatology feature of the Consultant Connect service, which offers a quick and secure way to share patient images for specialist Dermatology advice. In June 2020, local consultants began to come on board and shortly they are going to roll out access to Mental Health Advice & Guidance.
Since the services launched in Barnet nearly 10 months ago, the project has progressed at an impressive rate. We are going to explore the project’s development alongside clinician feedback on the services.
What Barnet clinicians say about the service…
In December we sent out a short survey to clinicians to gain their first-hand thoughts on the A&G service. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive – below are a few snippets of what they had to say.
“Speedy and helpful responses. Really useful and quick, particularly dermatology”
“This service is incredible and has made remote working much easier, very beneficial to patients.”
“The consultants have always been very pleasant, helpful, and it has always been a positive as well as educational encounter.”
“Excellent service. Quick and efficient. Good range of specialties available.”
“Invaluable and prevents many referrals.”
“Very quick response and helpful for same day management and for the ability to give the patient the answer quickly so they are very satisfied.”
“It’s absolutely fantastic! I cannot recommend it enough. As a newly qualified GP it helps bridge the gap between having a trainer then having no trainer – consultant connect is fantastic! It has also saved a lot of referrals and the patients are really grateful for speedy answers.”
10 months since launch…
- 385 Barnet clinicians, across 50 practices in Barnet, have downloaded the Consultant Connect App
- 70% of A&G requests have resulted in the patient avoiding a trip to hospital
Telephone Advice & Guidance (A&G)
- Over 2,000 calls placed
- 91% average first-time connection rate
- 34 seconds average connection time
- 4 minutes 20 seconds average call length
Photo and Messaging Advice & Guidance (A&G)
- Over 3,300 messages sent for A&G
- Over 2,900 messages sent for Dermatology A&G
The project now provides access to 17 specialties from both local and out-of-area NHS hospital teams, to clinicians in the Barnet locality. The rapid growth of the service ensured that the project was in place to support practice teams during the pandemic with simultaneous winter pressures.
Kat James who manages Consultant Connect’s partnership with NHS North Central London CCG explains what factors have resulted in the project’s success:
“Barnet clinicians were so positive, and ready for the addition of Consultant Connect to their area. When we held a briefing webinar on the day of project launch, over 100 clinicians had already downloaded our app and were keen to use the service. The project then ran itself – driven by clinicians, engaging clinicians. Local providers also quickly seized the opportunity that this service was reducing the number of patients coming to hospital unnecessarily.”
Future expansion of the Consultant Connect service
The following area have been identified by the team at NHS North Central London CCG, where Consultant Connect could make a huge positive impact:
- Mental Health – providing local access