Proven approaches to meet the NHS targets

Published: 9th April 2024
Systems using Consultant Connect are well placed to meet the requirements set in the latest NHSE 2024/25 priorities and operational planning guidance.
Proven Approaches To Help You Meet The Targets

The latest 2024/25 priorities and operational planning guidance confirm the ongoing need for systems to continue to make progress on recovering core services and productivity.

This includes:

improving waiting times and safety in urgent and emergency care by supporting admissions avoidance and hospital discharge.


reducing the longest waits for tests and treatment for cancer and elective care.

The good news is systems using Consultant Connect are well-placed to meet the requirements:

1. Reduce unwarranted pressures on Urgent and Emergency Care services:

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce unwarranted pressures on A&E/ED. One of them is giving clinicians a single point of access to navigate patients to the place most suited for their care.

Consultant Connect gives paramedics, GPs, nurses and further community teams access to immediate telephone advice, with calls answered in 30 seconds on average. This helps reduce unnecessary patient conveyances and admissions, and ensures patients are directed to the most appropriate place first time. Over half of the NHS already uses this system.

Below are a few examples of the high-impact solutions that can support you:

  • Stop unnecessary patient conveyances: 36% of calls from ambulance teams avoid an unnecessary patient conveyance.
  • Reduce unnecessary A&E attendances: 47% of calls to SDEC lines result in patients avoiding A&E.
  • Avoid hospital admissions: 52% of calls from GPs to Urgent Care specialties avoid hospital admissions and get the patient to the right place first time.

Find out more.

2. Eliminate waits and reduce overall list size:

In addition to systems being asked to eliminate waits of over 65 weeks for elective care as soon as possible (and by 30 September 2024 at the latest), areas must also focus on reducing the overall list size and improving productivity.  This includes ensuring every area has an established approach to ensure referrals to secondary care are appropriate and making use of specialist Advice & Guidance (A&G).

Referral Triage and waiting list validation:

It’s well known that triaging waiting list backlogs and incoming referrals ensures the right pathways first time. However, finding local consultant-led resources to deliver this can be tricky.

For systems with local clinical capacity challenges, our network of remote NHS consultants is brought in to help tackle waiting lists. The consultants cover all main elective specialties and work remotely as ‘virtual locums’, safely clearing waiting list backlogs in bulk or new referrals as they come in. To date, over 60,000 referrals have been reviewed through the service, resulting in 29% of patients being taken off the waiting list and returned to their GPs with management plans (on average).

Implementation is fast, quickly reducing clinical risk as important upgrades and downgrades are identified, and patients get the care they need sooner rather than later:

  • Projects can launch in as little as a week from sign-off and can be switched off that quickly when no longer needed
  • No disruption to local flows
  • Capacity to review 1,000+ cases per month per project

Enhanced Advice & Guidance: 68% of calls to elective care specialties avoid an unnecessary hospital visit:

For an Advice & Guidance service to work successfully, the responding clinicians need to answer the requests. This may sound obvious, but no amount of encouraging clinicians to use Advice & Guidance can overcome an unreliable service. Advice from a local specialist is always the best option, but if a local clinician is not available, systems have been using our switch on/switch off virtual NHS consultant service. Out-of-area NHS consultants work remotely to answer calls and/or respond to written requests and ultimately free up local resources to see patients they need to see.

For further information on how we can support the delivery of the operational planning guidance requirements, please contact us on 01865 261467 or email

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