In practice: 8 quick ways to respond to COVID-19

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Supporting your health care teams with rapid Advice & Guidance

Consultant Connect is simply a smart communications tool which can be configured in many ways to improve communications between any health care professionals. In this article we highlight examples of other ways we are already working with NHS areas to provide rapid and reliable communication.

Avoiding Hospital for the Elderly this Winter

The coronavirus has had a disproportionate impact on older people. In this blog article, we uncover how Consultant Connect’s rapid Advice & Guidance is being used across the UK by healthcare professionals – including GPs, Paramedics, Care Homes – to keep this patient cohort out of hospital, where appropriate.

5 minutes with… a Urologist

Dr Ajayi talks to us about his personal experience of answering A&G calls through the service.

Flow Navigation Hubs

Technology will be a key enabler in NHS Scotland's plan for all Health Boards to have Flow Navigation Hubs in hospitals from December 2020. Read how Consultant Connect can help to work at pace and achieve this ambition.

5 minutes with… a Care Home Manager

Two months after the Care Home Connect pilot went live in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Cheryl Smith, Care Home Manager at Chilton Place, talks to us about her experience of getting Advice & Guidance through the service...

FAQs – Referral Backlog Triage for the NHS

We are now triaging waiting lists for Trusts with backlogs of referrals that have built up due to COVID-19. In this article we share answers to the questions we’ve been asked the most since we launched this service.

How to rapidly improve communication about patients in your NHS area

It’s often still very difficult in the NHS to speak directly to the right person when timely advice is really needed – especially if a patient’s needs are complex or urgent. This is why

5 minutes with… an Optometrist

Four months after the Consultant Connect App was made available to optometrists in the NHS Derby and Derbyshire CCG area, Alex Howard talks to us about his experience of getting Advice & Guidance through the service...

In practice: quick ways to respond to COVID-19

With wave 2 upon us we share examples of how we are using IG secure tech to help NHS areas with their response.

A Doctor Writes – Uncertainties and opportunities in challenging times

In April 2020 we spoke to Dr David Griffiths, practising GP and the Medical Director of Consultant Connect. He shared what it was like being a GP back then and his thoughts on the challenges ahead. 6 months later, we caught up with Dr Griffiths, and here’s what he said…

LTCs during COVID-19: Five ways to improve care for patients

As we move into winter, it is hugely important that patients with Long Term Conditions (LTCs) can be managed effectively. Key to this will be the ongoing collaboration and communication between care providers and their patients. Read on to find out how we can help.

Patient Case Studies: Using A&G to ease COVID + Winter pressures

As the NHS faces Winter plus COVID, can technology help in alleviating some of the pressures? The simple answer is yes.

5 minutes with… a Paramedic

Five months after the Consultant Connect App was made available to Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust paramedics, Sion Breese talks to us about his experience using the service.

NHS Area Case Study: Enfield – project update & expansion plans

Six months ago, Consultant Connect launched in Enfield, NHS North Central London CCG to support key services during the COVID-19 pandemic. We caught up with Senior Programme Manager, Stephen Wells from Enfield Borough Directorate to discuss how the project has been performing since launch.

Local NHS Gains National Recognition For Improving Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Our partnership Tele-Skin Two Week Wait Pathway project with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and local partner CCGs gained national recognition for improving skin care diagnosis....

How NHS areas can support Mental Health improvements during COVID and winter pressures

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHS Long Term Plan provided hope that improving Mental Health services were a national priority. However, the pandemic has slowed the implementation of the improvements. As we go into winter with the additional pressure of a second wave, our Mental Health Lead discusses how NHS areas can still push Mental Health improvements forward.

3 months on: physical health advice for mental health inpatients

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) launched a physical health advice pilot in June, providing physical health advice for inpatient wards. We take a look at the project three months on.

5 minutes with… a Gynaecologist

Dr Shahnaz Akbar is a consultant in Consultant Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Reproductive Medicine & Surgery for Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Akbar talks to us about her personal experience of answering A&G calls through the service…

5 minutes with… a GP

Five months after the Consultant Connect Telephone Advice & Guidance was made available to her practice, Dr Lauret talks to us about what she thinks of the service and how using the Consultant Connect App has improved patient care.

COVID-19 Response: 8 ways we can help

Find out how we are helping NHS areas with their COVID-19 response.

5 minutes with… a Service Manager & Lead Nurse

Sally Shaw talks to us about how her team are continuing to significantly improve care despite the pandemic...

NHS A&G – It’s not just for GPs

When Consultant Connect first started providing Advice & Guidance (A&G) it was just GPs that used the service to speak to specialists. Find out how this has changed.

5 minutes with… a frontline Consultant Emergency Physician

Ninewells Hospital have been using Consultant Connect since 2018, so it made sense to include the service as part of their COVID-19 response strategy. Dr Ron Cook talks to us about his personal experience of answering A&G calls through the service...

SE London Enhanced A&G project “comes into its own” during COVID-19

What's the impact, one year on, of using Consultant Connect with e-RS for South East London CCGs? This "enhanced" advice and guidance approach has continued to reduce GP referrals whilst supporting clinicians during the pandemic.

NHS areas where Ambulance staff use Phone A&G to improve patient care

Paramedic, CSD and Operation teams within Ambulance Trusts across the UK are using the rapid Consultant Connect Telephone A&G service to contact clinicians for advice on patient related queries.

Avoiding unnecessary NHS patient conveyances up to 39%

Technology makes the task of frontline ambulance paramedics easier, meaning they don't have to transport so many patients. Take a look at our new data...

Ninewells share COVID Advice Line performance

The COVID Unit Advice Line launched on 13th March 2020 in NHS Tayside and was placed at the top of the list of options on the Consultant Connect service to help highlight the service to clinicians. How is it performing six months on?

Digital Health: Consultant Connect data reveals usage has soared during Covid-19

Digital Health News has reported on our latest performance benchmark data. Our data has revealed the usage of our products soared by as much as 380% during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic...

Consultant Connect, all the data including COVID-19 impact

What are the top NHS specialties for Advice & Guidance? What is the impact of COVID-19? Our new benchmarking report answers this and much more.

4 NHS areas using out-of-area NHS consultants during COVID

The 4 NHS areas described in this article have one thing in common – they’ve all made it radically quicker and easier for clinicians, paramedics etc. to get specialist advice despite the pandemic.

“Switch on / switch off” additional NHS consultant resource

One of the biggest challenges for hospitals delivering an Advice & Guidance service is staffing it - particularly during winter. The good news is that there's now a way you can "switch on / switch off" additional consultant resource this winter.

Press Release | GPs make best use of new app to avoid unnecessary hospital trips for patients

GPs across North Wales are accessing additional expert medical advice and avoiding unnecessary visits to hospital thanks to a new app.

Using Consultant Connect to prepare for this winter

We face an uncertain NHS winter. The spectre of COVID plus a seasonal flu outbreak is a unique challenge.

5 minutes with… a Dermatologist

Nearly a year after the Teledermatology pilot at The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust began, Dr Mauri-Sole talks to us about how the Dermatology Team overcame initial reservations and significantly improved patient care using the Consultant Connect App.

Greenwich: A much quicker response to patients’ Mental Health needs

Read this article to find out the impact that our Mental Health Telephone Advice & Guidance project in Greenwich has had nearly two years on.

Digital Health Industry Spotlight: Jonathan Patrick, Consultant Connect

In the first of Digital Health's Industry Spotlight series, Claire Read speaks to Jonathan Patrick about the practicalities managing the Covid-related explosion of interest in remote consultation and Advice & Guidance.

Winter + COVID: the start of a strategy

Your area’s strategy for COVID will have to be wide ranging. At the heart of it will be the need to ensure that only those patients who need to be seen face-to-face by a clinician attend their GP practice or hospital. A good place to start is communications.

The 2 rules for guaranteed success with Advice & Guidance

  You may not know this, but all our projects sit alongside e-RS written advice. Why? Because if you give clinicians a choice of telephone or written advice, they will ask for advice far more ...

Why your own resilience isn’t enough

We’ve heard a lot of about resilience recently. Resilience is the thing that allows us to keep going during a crisis, the ability to recover from difficulties. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s one of the key qualities that public and government expect from the NHS in a crisis.

Primary Care: 3 key reboot opportunities

In April 2020, Dr David Griffiths, practising GP and Medical Director of Consultant Connect wrote this blog article: Business as Unusual? How does he feel things have changed since he wrote his blog article? Read on to watch his video update.

Oxford’s digihealth innovators rising to the COVID-19 challenge

Delighted to be included in TechTribe's article about innovative companies from Oxford taking on the new challenge of COVID.

NHS Doncaster CCG shares Phase 3 Recovery Update

We asked the Director of Strategy & Delivery NHS Doncaster CCG, Anthony Fitzgerald, for a video update on how the CCG have coped with COVID-19, how it has moved forward, and what role Consultant Connect has played. Read on to view the short video.

Interest in Consultant Connect has rocketed!

Consultant Connect has started to be used more widely as a valued alternative to hospital referrals during the coronavirus pandemic. Our local newspaper, The Oxford Times was interested to find out more...

Physical health support for patients in mental health wards

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) is piloting a virtual physical health clinic, providing physical health advice for inpatient wards during the pandemic.

NHS Area Case Study: How we successfully embedded new technology at pace

Last week we caught up with Senior Programme Manager, Stephen Wells from Enfield Borough Directorate, NHS North Central London CCG to find out how the CCG managed to roll out Consultant Connect at pace, achieve highly positive feedback from patients and clinicians, and build resilience.

Will system resilience be the new business as usual?

Consultant Connect has worked in partnership with Attain, the healthcare management consultancy, to deliver successful advice & guidance projects in Enfield and Barnet in the last 3 months. In this guest blog, they reflect on the present opportunity to use Advice & Guidance to build system resilience.

5 ways COVID affected NHS Advice & Guidance

We wrote recently about the “new normal” in healthcare. In our view, technologies which help patients avoid physical appointments are here to stay. Here’s how Advice and Guidance changed to become a central part of the new landscape…

Team GPvCovid and Consultant Connect

We recently teamed up with Team GP v. Covid to ask GPs to answer A&G calls from 999 ambulance crews and Clinical Support Desk staff.

Area Case Study: Community provided dermatology

In this article we take a closer look at NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG’s innovative teledermatology services set up before COVID-19. These services are now proving perfect for the sudden need for remote consultations.

Press Release | New app will provide more care closer to home for people in Powys

The launch of the Consultant Connect App in Wales is set to reduce the need for Powys residents to travel for unnecessary hospital admission and referrals.

Consultant’s View: Giving Remote Advice & Guidance during COVID-19

We asked Cardiologist and National Network Consultant, Dr Patrick Davey for a video update on how he has been helping out-of-area GPs by providing rapid telephone advice about their patients. Read on to view the short video.

BBC Briefings | Consultant Connect mentioned in Welsh Government Update

The decision of the Welsh Government to commission Consultant Connect’s communication platform for ALL clinicians in Wales is an example of rapid innovation at scale to bring tangible, long-term benefits to patients and NHS Wales. It also means that over 25 million patients are now covered by Consultant Connect in the UK. Listen to the health minister mention Consultant Connect in his address to the press on 2nd June 2020.

Top 3 Most Read Blogs Last Month

The following articles have made it to our top 3 “most read” articles in May 2020. Have you read them all yet?

COVID-19 Recovery: Ophthalmology

The knock-on from the pandemic will be felt particularly in specialities that saw an on-going rise in demand last year. This article looks at how NHS areas can help optometrists deliver more care in the community and reduce unnecessary strain on hospital eye services.

Warwickshire North project expansion set to integrate care

Health and care workers supporting mental health patients, those in care homes and housebound or homeless patients now have the support of a direct and rapid advice and guidance contact line. The service enables them to gain expert clinical advice on how to manage their patients and ensure they receive the best care possible across Nuneaton, Bedworth and the north of Warwickshire.

DGH ‘plus’ shares COVID-19 recovery update

We asked the Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Northampton General Hospital, Carl Holland for a video update on how the hospital have coped with COVID-19, how they are moving forward, and what role Consultant Connect has played in helping to keep the hospital flowing. Read on to view the short video.

Worried about waiting lists?

The NHS is going to have to deal with the spike in demand as a knock-on from the pandemic. This article considers an NHS tool that is already being used which could reduce waiting lists by half.

6 ways to make unloved hospital hotlines loved

Why does moving local speciality hotlines to Consultant Connect centralise the whole Advice & Guidance process making things much easier for clinicians and consultants?

Top 3 Most Read Blogs Last Month

The following articles have made it to our top 3 “most read” articles in April 2020. Have you read them all yet?

The impact of out-of-area NHS consultants – eighteen months on

Since November 2018, GPs in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale (HMR) have had access to immediate Phone Advice & Guidance from national teams of specialist consultants via Consultant Connect’s National Consultant Network (NCN). Find out how the project is doing 18 months on...

Coventry & Rugby embrace Innovative Ophthalmology tech

Telephone and Photo Advice & Guidance has had a positive impact for clinicians and patients in Warwickshire, Coventry and Rugby during COVID-19.

Is the NHS looking for a recovery or a restart?

Is the NHS looking for a recovery or a restart? This week there can be no doubts: thoughts have turned to what the NHS does after this first wave of COVID. It’s going to be tough. But there’s an upside, too.

A Doctor Writes – Business as Unusual?

Dr David Griffiths is a practising GP and the Medical Director of Consultant Connect. In this article he shares what it is like being a GP right now and his thoughts on the challenges ahead.

Supporting Mental Health patients during a Pandemic

The current COVID pandemic presents health care services with new dilemmas especially when it comes to supporting Mental Health patients. In this article we look at the most urgent challenges and discuss what part rapid Telephone Advice & Guidance can play in providing support.

Planning for a new ‘normal’ in the NHS

We’re not through COVID yet, but maybe it’s the end of the beginning. We think there are two main changes to ‘normal’ that will last in the NHS.

What is Enhanced Advice & Guidance?

Enhanced Advice & Guidance is e-RS advice PLUS telephone advice and photo-message advice. Supported by out-of area consultants who can make sure calls are answered and messages returned within a few hours.

In Practice: Telephone Advice & Guidance

Consultant Connect's Telephone Advice & Guidance service has been working in NHS Doncaster CCG since 2017. The Director of Strategy and Delivery at the CCG shared some practical insights and top tips in a recent webinar.

Swansea Bay project goes live in record time!

Consultant Connect's Telephone Advice & Guidance service has been rolled out in record time reports the Swansea Bay University Heath Board News.  The service will focus on COVID-19 inquiries, along with others relating to four medical specialties. Swansea Bay is the first Welsh Health Board to launch the service with more Health Boards expected to follow. The service is funded by the Welsh Government. 

Helping GPs if they can’t refer patients to hospital

Many hospitals have, quite understandably, scaled back or stopped routine activity to deal with the COVID crisis. This article explains how the Consultant Connect service can be used to give GPs another option if they can’t refer to hospital.

Top 3 Most Read Blogs Last Month

The following articles have made it to our top 3 “most read” articles in March 2020. Have you read them all yet?

Project continues to reduce demand for 2WW dermatology referrals – now by 33%

The PhotoSAF feature (within the Consultant Connect App) met Leeds’ requirements – particularly around information governance, compliance and ensuring the new process worked for both primary care and secondary care

A Doctor Writes – PhotoSAF makes clinical photography quick, easy and safe

Dr David Griffiths is a practising GP and the Medical Director of Consultant Connect. His frustration at how difficult it is to take clinical photos securely and safely, when seeing patients, influenced the decision to develop our IG secure clinical photography feature – PhotoSAF.

COVID-19: Non face-to-face options for areas

We’ve been asked to work alongside a few areas in developing their response to COVID-19. All the options we offer can be implemented quickly (and do not require the Consultant Connect platform), feel free to get in touch if you would like to talk through any of your plans. Existing customers, we can set up within 48 hours, there is no cost for this.

How to discover gaps in your provision

Did you know that many of our customers use Consultant Connect call recordings to discover gaps in their provision, identify training needs and to inform strategic decisions? It is possible to discover information not available by other approaches and these could be used to enhance ways of working and patient care.

Luton 2020: More patients avoiding A&E

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...

Long Term Conditions – 4 ways A&G can help

Understanding their condition is the first step for LTC patients in coming to terms with their diagnosis and this can be frightening. Information and support for both physical and mental well-being is very important. Find out how Advice & Guidance can help.

County Durham and Darlington NHS FT and Consultant Connect Finalists for HSJ Value Awards

We are delighted to announce that our partnership Tele-Skin Two Week Wait Pathway project with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and local partner CCGs has been shortlisted for an HSJ Value Award in the category of Transformation and Acute Service Redesign Initiative.

PIFUs – deliver secure Patient Initiated Follow-Ups by telephone

One way of reducing face-to-face NHS appointments will be Patient Initiated Follow-Ups (PIFUs). How can you quickly set a SECURE service up?

What does answering A&G calls mean for consultants?

Consultant teams sometimes ask us whether answering A&G calls via Consultant Connect means that they will need to change job plans (due to call volumes) or “be sat at a desk waiting for the phone to ring”. The answer is no.

Reform is upon us – introducing the NHS Operational Plan 2020/21

As we all know, change is afoot. Last year’s Long Term Plan set out some pretty demanding targets, including the headline 30% reduction in face-to-face hospital appointments. Now, to help with this, NHSE has published its "Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2020/21"...

3 Most Read Blogs Last Month

The following articles have made it to our top 3 “most read” articles in February 2020, according to our website reports. Have you read them all yet?

A Doctor Writes – What Our Feedback Tells Us

In this blog, our Medical Director, Dr David Griffiths, looks at what our regular user surveys can teach us about the use of Advice & Guidance in the NHS.

5 Ways Clinicians Can Work Together To Improve Mental Healthcare

In this article, our Mental Health Lead, Scott Welpton, looks at some simple ways that NHS clinicians can work together to deliver improved Mental Healthcare.

Have you published your response to the NHS LTP yet?

NHS healthcare areas are now expected to make their “first submission of draft operational plans” (“Early” Feb 20) to be quickly followed by their “final submission of operational plans” (by end March 2020). Take a look at how an innovative ICS has responded.

Implementing NHS Rightcare’s Headache and Migraine Toolkit

Last week the national press covered the recent launch of NHS Rightcare’s Headache and Migraine Toolkit. You can download a copy of the Toolkit from this article and find out how Consultant Connect can help.

Using out-of-area NHS consultants to support Advice & Guidance

One of the biggest challenges for hospitals delivering an Advice & Guidance service is staffing it. Whether the requests come in from GPs by phone or in writing, most clinicians are expected to respond whilst also doing their day job. This can mean using consultant admin time, for example, to squeeze in advice & guidance […]

NHS Doncaster CCG: GPs make best use of technology to care for more people at home this winter

NHS Doncaster CCG press office have reported on our project on their CCG news page. The project gives GPs in all local practices access to consultants in 15 specialties. Read on...

Review of 2019 at Consultant Connect

As 2019 draws to a close, some of our highlights from the past year include: Over 26 million NHS pounds have been saved in areas using Enhanced Advice & Guidance, the launch of our National Consultant Network, how you can double the use of Advice & Guidance... and more!

5 most read blogs last month

The following articles have made it to our top 5 “most read” articles in November 2019, according to our website reports. Have you read them all yet?

NHS Trust article: Consultant Connect’s ‘Innovative telemedicine’

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals (RBCH) press office have reported on our project on their trust news page. The project gives GPs in 27 local practices immediate access to consultants in 11 RBCH specialties. Read on...

How to spend it – surprise winter NHS money

We've heard a rumour that there might be some "surprise" winter money released after the election. Here's the catch and a potential solution.

The seven advantages of delivering follow-up consultations over the phone

The ambition of the NHS Long Term Plan, to reduce face-to-face appointments by a third, is a massive challenge. One of the main methods for achieving it is going to be delivering thousands of follow-up appointments through different channels.

Advice from Emergency Consultants one phone call away – NHS Tayside Health Board a year on

Since October 2018, GPs, Paramedics and Junior Doctors in Tayside were given access to immediate telephone advice & guidance from Emergency Consultants at Ninewells Hospital. How has the service been performing and what has the feedback been?

A Doctor Writes – Mental Health is a key part of my job

Dr David Griffiths is a practicing GP and the Medical Director of Consultant Connect. In this blog he writes about how Mental Health impacts his work as a GP.

NHS Business Case Example

Writing a strong NHS business case for Advice & Guidance can make all the difference. That's why we are sharing this real-life example.

“Tell us about a call” – How GPs use Consultant Connect to benefit patients

The thousands of survey responses we have received over the years from GPs have given us some incredible insights into how Advice & Guidance is used in real life.

Want to DOUBLE Advice & Guidance usage? World’s shortest blog

If you want to double advice & guidance usage, offer your GPs both written advice over e-RS and telephone advice over Consultant Connect.

5 most read winter articles

It will soon be hard to get through a week without the press commenting on winter pressures in the NHS. Indeed, at Consultant Connect it’s a topic that features frequently on our blog. We break the challenges down into smaller, manageable chunks offering proven approaches for areas to consider.

Telederm in the NHS – how to take the best photos

We have recently been working with NHS Dorset CCG to create a free guide for taking the best photos for Teledermatology. Read on to find out more.

Why it’s not too late to tackle winter pressures

The five-year funding plan and Long Term Plan have reintroduced some strategic direction and much-needed resource to certain parts of the NHS. There’s no doubt that in the long run these will help ease “year-round” winter pressures, but what can be done in the meantime that will have an immediate impact on this coming winter?

Still the easiest bit of the NHS Long Term Plan?

When the NHS LTP was published we recommended that local commissioners and Trusts could approach the challenge by looking for the easiest bits of the plan to gain quick, high-impact wins. Nine months on, we reflect on these recommendations.

4 Things We’ve Learned In 4 Years

This year we celebrated our fourth birthday. But it feels like we’re a lot older. Why? A lot has happened in those four years.

Safe sharing of ECGs and Echo Reports reduces unnecessary referrals

The IG secure Consultant Connect App is the “most used” photo app in the NHS for teledermatology and can be used on any personal smartphone. Doctors are increasingly turning to it for many other specialties where there is a need to quickly and safely share high quality images.

Measuring the impact of e-RS A&G and Consultant Connect working together

What's the impact of using Consultant Connect with e-RS for South East London CCGs? This "enhanced" advice and guidance approach has reduced GP referrals. We publish SE London's report to NHS England here.

How can we best prepare for the challenges of winter 2019/20 in the NHS?

With only a handful of major providers currently meeting the four hour A&E standard – and a thorough upheaval of standards planned – the picture on unplanned care performance is complicated to say the least.

8 NHS areas where communication is improving patient care

The 8 NHS areas described below have one thing in common – they’ve all made it radically quicker for clinicians, paramedics etc. to communicate about patients using Enhanced Advice & Guidance.

Consultant Connect cited in Neurology Handbook

Just a few weeks ago, we were included in the "rethinking referrals" part of the Neurology handbook. You can access the full handbook here.

3 things patients get out of Enhanced Advice & Guidance

We are very used to talking to NHS commissioners about the "value" Consultant Connect provides in terms of reduced waiting lists, managing patient demand and cost savings from unnecessary ...

Top 5 most read blog articles

With the summer holidays upon us, you might be looking for some interesting reading to browse through whilst taking a break. In this post, we highlight our top 5 of most read blog articles.

Consultant Connect – What does our four-year anniversary data tell you about Enhanced Advice & Guidance?

The first Consultant Connect project launched on 29 June 2015 in North East Essex. Shortly after 9am, the first call was made to Diabetes & Endocrinology and answered by Dr Charles ...

Why parity of esteem means also providing Advice & Guidance in Mental Health

The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) published in 2019 outlines a programme of service expansions and improvements for mental health to finally deliver “parity of esteem” between mental and physical health.

Turning the Tide: Luton 2019

Find out how Luton and Dunstable University Hospital are testing the NHS Clinical Access Standards for Urgent and Emergency Care. Alongside this, Caroline Capell also explains how Luton has also become one of the first areas in England to successfully directly book into GP practices and other services from 111.

New Skincare & Dermatology Report

The Consultant Connect App is the "most used" photo app in the NHS. Find out why doctors are increasingly turning to it for teledermatology.

HSJ Article – Helping paramedics make right decisions

Read this HSJ feature about our project that enables paramedics to speak directly with ED clinicians. It's helping them make decisions about the best place to treat NHS patients.

HSJ Article – Case study: Using telehealth to improve emergency care

Read this HSJ feature to find out how access to Phone Advice & Guidance helped a paramedic speak directly to a senior clinician and make a time critical decision for a patient.

HSJ Article – Advice from emergency consultants one phone call away

Read this HSJ feature to find out why a Scottish health board rolled out a system that provides GPs and paramedics with immediate advice and guidance from emergency department consultants.

Who pays for Advice & Guidance NOW?

Just over 2 years ago we published an article titled "Who Pays for Advice & Guidance". It ended up being our most read article of 2017 and in our top 5 articles of 2018. Why was it so ...

Worried about winter in the NHS? Experts answer your questions

NHS experts from Luton, SE London and The King's Fund shared their top tips for easing all-year winter pressures during our recent "Worried about Winter?" webinar. During the Q&A section of the webinar, delegates posed some interesting questions!

The Massive Benefits of Reviewing Call Recordings

Did you know that many of our customers use Consultant Connect call recordings to inform strategic decisions? Reviewing call recordings and acting upon the information they contain can have a massive benefit for all concerned.

Greenwich: Innovative technology supports GPs to make right decision first time

Since October 2016 over 1,700 patients in Greenwich have been spared an avoidable visit to hospital thanks to the CCG’s decision to pilot the use of innovative telephone technology delivered by Consultant Connect.

Experts answer your questions on outpatient transformation

A panel of experts answer your questions on the future of outpatient transformation: Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England; Dr Toby Hillman, Sustainability ...

Article: How can we deliver successful Advice & Guidance services?

This article includes a free PDF download.

HSJ Article – Technology can help healthcare professionals work smarter

Technology can help healthcare professionals work smarterA feature created by HSJ Read the full feature on HSJDownload a PDF version of the featureOr read it below: The staffing crisis

HSJ Article – The impact of networks in supporting Primary Care

The impact of networks in supporting primary careA feature created by HSJ in co-operation with Heywood Middleton and Rochdale CCGWritten by Claire Read, HSJ Read the full feature on ...

Article: How can we deliver greater mental health integration?

This article includes a free PDF download.

Neurology: from 100-day challenge to business as usual in North East Essex

Access to neurology advice from a national network of specialists helped reduce unnecessary referrals to East Suffolk and North Essex FT and potentially reduce waiting times. Claire Read, ...

How a nurse-led GP liaison service has helped to streamline the patient journey

Service manager and community liaison Sally Shaw explains how she helped develop a service to improve communication with local GPs.

Experts discussed ‘Outpatients: The Future’ at a recent RCP webinar

During the RCP webinar on Monday 3 June 2019, experts discussed outpatient transformation and offered practical ideas and examples about where to start.

Experts discussed how Advice & Guidance can help deliver the Long Term Plan

During our recent live webinar 'How to make sure your Advice & Guidance delivers the Long Term Plan', experts offered practical ideas and examples on how to set up an Advice & Guidance service using phone and e-RS, build a long term service on successful foundations, and measure and communicate success.

Experts discussed Mental Health Integration at our recent webinar

During our webinar on Thursday 4 April 2019, experts discussed the issues and offered practical ideas and examples about how we can improve integration of mental health care.

Nursing team win at healthcare awards

Matthew Winn, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, said: “I am incredibly proud of the Luton GP Liaison Service, which has been rightly recognised for its great work. The nurse-led team deserves full recognition for this ground breaking service and should be really proud of all they have achieved.”

Experts answer your FAQs on Advice & Guidance

Not only does your Advice & Guidance service have to work, it has to work well. Well enough for GPs to use it in the sort of volumes that will deliver up to 100,000 avoided referrals in an average area. To help with this, experts from NHS England, CCGs using e-RS and Consultant Connect answer Advice & Guidance FAQs.

How to make sure your Advice & Guidance delivers the Long Term Plan

The NHS Long Term Plan aims to avoid up to a third of outpatient appointments. That means that some 30 million hospital appointments will need to be avoided or replaced somehow. Advice & Guidance could be a plank in delivering the LTP target and has potential to contribute significantly.

Mental Health Integration – what does it take to make it work?

Mental Health Integration: what does it take to make it work? For a number of years, the NHS has been grappling with the issue of how best to deliver care to a growing and ageing population ...

Project continues to reduce demand for 2WW dermatology referrals – now by 28%

Consultant Connect’s teledermatology project in Leeds is working to speed up diagnosis of skin lesions and reduce demand on the 2WW pathway by 28%.

HSJ Article – Harnessing teledermatology to improve cancer care in Leeds

Harnessing teledermatology to improve cancer care in Leeds A feature created by HSJ in co-operation with the Leeds Cancer Programme Written by Claire Read, HSJ Cross-sector collaboration to ...

8 NHS areas where communication is improving patient care

The 8 NHS areas described below have one thing in common - they've all made it radically quicker for clinicians, paramedics etc. to communicate about patients using telephone and photo Advice ...

Consultant Connect cited in new NHS specialty handbooks

Regular readers will know that the Elective Care Transformation Team at NHS England is busy producing a series of handbooks to help Trusts and commissioners to manage rising demand across certain

The easiest bit of the NHS long term plan

As a vision, the NHS long term plan is undoubtedly positive and ambitious - giving the public access to their GP via "digital consultations" understandably got a lot of coverage, but the plan's authors might have been right to feel miffed that a lot of other good ideas didn't attract much comment at all.

Doncaster Project in the Press

The Doncaster Gazette has reported on our project in Doncaster. The project gives GPs immediate access to consultants in 13 specialties at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

Review of 2018 at Consultant Connect

As 2018 draws to a close, some of our highlights from the past year include: Over a quarter of GPs can now access immediate Advice & Guidance, the launch our teledermatology app, the launch of our new webinar program with stellar speakers from the NHS.. and more!

Experts discussed ‘How to improve CAMHS’ our recent webinar

In our webinar on Monday 29 October 2018, experts shared their ideas about how to improve CAMHS. Speakers included:Dr Duncan Law, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Anna Freud National ...

New project will help GPs in Milton Keynes treat adults with mental health problems

The first person someone with a mental health problem is likely to turn to for professional help is their GP, who is expected to deal with them in an appropriate manner and within the 10-minute consultation window.

Experts discussed ‘Rise of the Superimprovers’ in our latest webinar

In this week’s webinar “Rise of the Superimprovers”, experts shared their ideas about how resilient healthcare providers keep improving despite year-round winter pressures. Speakers ...

The Guardian Article – ‘Doctors on speed dial’

Doctors on speed dial: the cutting-edge tech transforming healthcareA feature created by The Guardian in co-operation with the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Bath ...

Superimprovers continue to make progress despite pressure

We are always interested in reading articles about the challenges facing our healthcare system. However, we find that many seem to focus on ongoing winter pressures and associated number analysis

Reducing demand for 2WW dermatology referrals by up to 24%

Dermatology is one of the NHS's biggest challenges. To quote this Guardian article written by a dermatologist, "there is now a growing acceptance that in many parts of the UK it is all but impossible to see a consultant dermatologist in the NHS." 

About our webinar: How to improve the CAMHS crisis

Child Mental Health crisis has been at the top of the news headlines in recent years – we’ve all seen it. There have been a number of reports, surveys and articles on the topic of CAMHS, to ...

Greenwich is tackling Mental Health using Consultant Connect

Adults and older adults with mental health issues in Greenwich, London could see significant improvements to their diagnosis, treatment and care experience when they go to see their GP from this ...

Consultant Connect wins the Barclays Award for Innovation 2018

Consultant Connect wins the Barclays Award for Innovation at The Oxford Trust Enterprise Awards 2018. The Barclays Award for Innovation, is part of the Oxford Trust Enterprise Awards. It is ...

New Top Acute Trusts table

We're very interested in league tables and statistics at Consultant Connect. Why? Because we like to look at the organisations occupying the top slots and then figure out what they're doing that ...

Experts discussed “Easing ‘year-round’ winter pressure” in our webinar

In our webinar last month, experts including the President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and commissioning experts from the number 1 A&E Luton & Dunstable University Hospital

Why CAMHS keeps hitting the headlines

In this article, Jenny Welling-Palmer, our Mental Health lead, who has held strategic and operational roles in a number of large teaching hospitals, shares her thoughts. It is hard to get ...

HSJ Article – Tackling the Four-Hour A&E Target

Tackling the Four-Hour A&E Target with a whole system approach A feature created by HSJ in co-operation with Luton & Dunstable University Hospital Written by Claire Read, ...

Consultant Connect – all the data from day one

The first Consultant Connect project launched on 29 June 2015 in North East Essex. Shortly after 9am, the first call was made to Diabetes & Endocrinology and answered by Dr Charles Bodmer, a ...

19 charities get a donation to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday

In the past 70 years, we have seen the NHS grow and go above and beyond to transform and improve the health and wellbeing of our nation. During this time, a number of NHS-related charities also ...

Easing winter pressure by keeping the elderly out of hospital

Last month, The Royal College of Emergency Medicine published its Winter Flow Report for 2017/18. Its President, Dr Tajek Hassan, commented: “This report bears out what we’ve seen elsewhere and ...

Consultant Connect shortlisted for the Barclays Award for Innovation

A quick piece of breaking news: Consultant Connect has been shortlisted for the Barclays Award for Innovation at The Oxford Trust Enterprise Awards 2018. This year’s winners will be announced ...

Consultant Connect in NHSE gastro handbook / case studies

NHS England's Elective Care Transformation Programme exists to help manage rising patient demand as efficiently as possible. What is innovative about it is that it borrows an approach well known ...

3 reasons for optimism despite “year-round” winter pressures

Nobody needs reminding that last winter put a strain on the NHS. But the story didn't end there. The BMA warned back in April that the "new" winter crisis is the year-round crisis. Similarly, the

Consultant Connect featured on BBC Look North

Our PhotoSAF project in Leeds is attracting a lot of positive attention in the local press - you can read two of the articles reprinted in full below. In addition, take a look at the BBC Look ...

Why isn’t Advice and Guidance CQUIN mandated for Mental Health?

In this article, Jenny Welling-Palmer, who has held strategic and operational roles in a number of large teaching hospitals, shares her thoughts. The 2017–19 National CQUIN program is in full ...

Does GDPR mean you need to stop recording calls?

You've heard a lot about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the last few months. What you may not realise is that, until it comes into force and is tested, many of the effects ...

Video – Urgent Connect at the no.1 Trust for Emergency Care

"We are, at Luton and Dunstable, the top performing hospital in the country for the 4-hour emergency care indicator and one of the things that's helped contribute to that is Consultant ...

Meet the consultants from our Northampton General Hospital project

Our project at Northampton General Hospital has been running for over 16 months and is having a really positive impact on patient care. GPs are able to choose from 9 specialties available ...

3 Things We’ve Learned In 3 Years

Last month was our third birthday. But it feels like we're a lot older. Why? A lot's happened in those three years. Since we started in March 2015, we have:Grown the number of patients our ...

Piecing Together the NHS Integration Puzzle

In this article, our Mental Health Lead, Jenny Welling-Palmer, looks at how innovation can support integration in the NHS.Transformation, integration and change are three words synonymous ...

Luton CCG and Consultant Connect Finalists For 2 HSJ Awards

5 March 2018We are delighted to announce that our urgent care project with Luton CCG, Luton & Dunstable University Hospital and Cambridgeshire Community Services has been shortlisted for ...

A THIRD of GP consultations involve mental health – how does this impact practices?

One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, research suggests, with 90 per cent of those making primary care their first port of call for help. It is not ...

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Project In The Press

“It’s an excellent system. Local GPs have contacted me with specific questions about patient care and this has helped avoid unnecessary referrals to hospital" The South Yorkshire Times has ...

Working with the #1 Trust for A&E

When the BBC published the performance of 133 Trusts in October, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Trust was ranked first for A&E. 98.6% of patients attending A&E at Luton and ...

Better Patient Care and Over £1m Savings Get Consultant Connect In The News

We are delighted to report that Consultant Connect has hit the headlines in three regional publications this week. The Bath Echo, Harrow Times and Pharmacy Choice wrote about our projects in ...

The 3 Things That Mean GPs Will Use Advice & Guidance

One of our customers is a CCG that has been piloting four specialties on Consultant Connect for the last six months. Interestingly, though, they are one of three CCGs that feed into the local ...

Clinical User Survey Feedback: Nov 16 – Apr 17

Since our first project launched in June 2015, we have surveyed users across all our projects regularly. Although we ask all sorts of questions about the service, we're really looking to find out

NHS Report: Consultant Connect Reduces Unplanned Admissions

'Between October and December 2016, following the introduction of Consultant Connect, the hospital believes approximately 175 patients, at a conservative estimate, avoided admission. “This is an ...

New – Benchmarks for Urgent Care, Nov 16 – Apr 17

We have updated the Telephone Advice & Guidance benchmarking document published last week. It now includes an analysis of urgent care specialties. You can download the updated document by ...

Keeping Communication Channels Open

This hasn't been the easiest of weeks for our NHS colleagues. We heard that the NHS had fallen victim to a cyberattack fairly early on Friday, but the scale of the problem wasn't clear until late

Cyber-attack – Press Release

Consultant Connect offers service for free to help NHS Trusts affected by cyber-attack OXFORD, 15 May 2017 – The CEO of Consultant Connect, a telephone advice and guidance service covering 10

Advice & Guidance for Learning and CPD

A couple of decades ago, specialist consultants and GPs would have sat together for ongoing training, building relationships and having the opportunity to share experiences. Unfortunately, these ...

Who Pays For Advice & Guidance?

In England, the most common question we get asked after "how much does it cost?" is "who normally pays for it?". This is a good question. Telephone Advice & Guidance benefits the entire ...

3 Low-Cost Ways To Manage Referrals

New week, new NHS crisis. Despite the current crush in hospitals, NHS areas using Referral Management Centres to limit unnecessary referrals have been accused of getting "between the GP and ...

Call For Pilot Areas – “Patient Connect” For Patients With Long Term Conditions

We have recently been contacted by a Trust, which asked whether we could assist them in setting up a telephone line for a group of patients that suffer from a long term condition. The clinical ...

How do I choose which specialties to include?

How many specialties does a typical hospital offer? I'm looking at the lists of specialties offered by three different Acute Trusts as I write this: one offers 51 specialties, one offers 53 and ...

The Consultant Connect App – Local Advice & Guidance Via Your Smartphone

A couple of days ago we launched a live trial of the new Consultant Connect app with a handful of surgeries. It’s a small but important milestone: for the first time, a GP can reach a local ...

Final CQUIN 2017-19: how achievable is the Advice & Guidance element?

NHS England published its final version of the CQUIN 2017-19 on Friday. Why is this big news? For those that aren't familiar with it, CQUIN (which stands for commissioning for quality and ...

5 steps to make your clinician hotlines work

Every hospital has clinician hotlines. Not every hospital has hotlines that work well. We know this because clinicians (both GPs and consultants) tell us this a lot and because, since we started ...

Mental Health Pilot – Initial Results

At the beginning of February we launched our first Mental Health pilot with a Mental Health Foundation Trust. The pilot was set up specifically to deal with Adult Mental Health (so excluded ...

A Doctor Writes – Getting The Most Out Of Advice & Guidance

This is the second blog from our Clinical Lead, Dr David Griffiths As a GP with an interest in how services run effectively, I have enjoyed thinking about the different ways in which the ...

Consultant Connect Appoints Clinical Lead

Consultant Connect is pleased to announce that it has appointed Oxford-based GP and respected NHS improvement specialist, David Griffiths, as Clinical Lead at the company. David's role will ...

A Doctor Writes – Thoughts From Our New Clinical Lead

Dr David Griffiths is our new Clinical Lead. His career combines part time GP work in Oxford with participating in large scale NHS improvement projects. In this first blog he gives his ...

Frequently Asked Questions Part 2 – Hospital Trusts

Part 2 in our series of FAQS covers the questions most commonly asked by Hospital Trusts - you can see part 1 here: Frequently Asked Questions Part 1 – CCGs Will Consultant Connect lead to

What if the GPs don’t use it?

The history of innovation is littered with products that may have been great but which, through lack of use or impact or luck, were ultimately ditched. And it wasn't always the best technology ...

Frequently Asked Questions Part 1 – CCGs

If your area is thinking of implementing a telephone Advice & Guidance system to cut down on unnecessary patient referrals / admissions, there tend to be 4 key stakeholder groups that need ...

Consultant Connect shortlisted in 2 categories for the HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards

  A quick piece of breaking news: Consultant Connect has been shortlisted in 2 categories for the HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards. The categories are:TelehealthThe use of Information ...

Does Advice & Guidance work better in the North or the South?

One of the benefits of running a lot of telephone Advice & Guidance projects spread across the country is that we get to compare how different areas perform with respect to one another. And, ...

Is phone advice safe? What can a call cover?

Is phone advice safe?"Can you give advice on a patient if you don't have their notes?" is a question we get asked a lot by both GPs and consultants. It is the classic tension between doing ...

Can you incentivise referral reductions AND keep patients safe?

The Primary Care bible, Pulse, today led with an article about GP practices being offered "ethically questionable" incentive payments to reduce hospital referrals. Pulse's investigation ...

The 3 characteristics of successful referral avoiders

One of the things we do at Consultant Connect is record the outcomes of calls. The GP who dials in and the consultant that answers are both asked, at the end of the call, to press a number on ...

Keeping the elderly out of hospital: a consultant comments

When a patient is approaching the end of their life, the decisions GPs make have a disproportionately large impact. A decision to admit a patient to hospital may lead to them dying there, a ...

Better than private – when GPs work well with consultants

When you are asked to quantify how well a project or initiative has worked, the simplest answer is probably related to money. Return on investment, profitability, cash flow, return on capital

Consultant Connect early results: c. 80% of calls result in a referral being avoided

It's still early days, but we now have sufficient data to be able to share some first-look results for Consultant Connect in an area of Essex.The headline is that, to date, about 80% of calls

The Cost of a Referral

In our world we often think of the costs of a referral in purely financial terms: it is the £180 or so cost set down in the national tariff for faced-to-face consultations (or £23 for non-face to face if used). However, this does not take into account many other costs that arise from a referral, such as the cost of communication in setting up the appointment, or the inconvenience and cost for the patient in travelling to the appointment.

Why Four Avoided Referrals Are Exciting

Yesterday we helped four people avoid a referral to hospital in an area in Essex. This is a small number, not even a flea bite on the rump of the elephant that is referral numbers in this ...

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