Meeting the requirements of NHSE’s FRAIL strategy using Consultant Connect tech

Published: 29th April 2024
NHS England recently published new guidance for FRAILTY strategies to support the delivery of frailty pathways which Consultant Connect can help to implement.

An approach for a more streamlined and consistent acute frailty same-day emergency care (SDEC) service, NHS England’s FRAIL strategy supports wider healthcare systems to develop and improve acute frailty services across England by setting out a practical approach:

Focus on the acute problem



Identify needs


This will mean more older people living with frailty can be safely discharged on the same day they arrive, avoiding overnight admissions.

Consultant Connect is widely used across the NHS and supports areas with their frailty pathways. In 2023, more than 200,000 Advice & Guidance calls were placed through Consultant Connect, resulting in 150,000 elderly and frail patients avoiding an unnecessary hospital visit.

Key recommendations highlighted in the strategy are already being implemented across the NHS in England, supported by Consultant Connect, including:

All healthcare professionals, including primary and community care, NHS 111 and 999 services, and paramedics on scene should have access to acute frailty services.

Enhanced Telephone Advice & Guidance by Consultant Connect enables all NHS healthcare professionals to seek rapid pre-referral advice and guidance to ensure patients get the right care in the right place the first time. Accessed via our secure app, the user’s desktop or a unique Dial-In Number, our service operates as a single point of access, where contact numbers are pre-programmed for quick use.

In 2021, Buckinghamshire re-launched their Frailty line – previously known as the ‘silver phone’ – with Consultant Connect to better manage frailty patients coming into Stoke Mandeville Hospital. This enables Primary Care clinicians and ambulance teams to quickly contact frailty specialists before conveying patients to ED. Discussions in this way allow senior decision-makers to approve referrals prior to conveyance, often enabling specialty teams to prepare treatment plans in advance. This gives them the best possibility of concluding episodes of care, putting any additional services needed in place, and preventing unnecessary lengthy hospital stays for patients.

Since launch, the Frailty line has received approximately, 5000 calls, each lasting four minutes on average. The concise and rapid nature of the calls means patients are not waiting for extended periods to be triaged or signposted to the correct care.

The service has enabled 36% of patients to be treated outside of a hospital setting, and 56% of calls resulted in the patient being directed to clinics or outpatient departments.

Find out more.

A multidisciplinary team (MDT) is required to provide a holistic assessment and meet the needs of the patient. The MDT should be available for a minimum of 10 hours a day (ideally 12 hours), seven days a week.

Inter-specialty collaboration via Consultant Connect is quick and easy. Teams can create IG-secure messages and attach patient files and photos, bringing in additional clinicians when needed for discussions in one central place. All Consultant Connect activity is safely recorded in the cloud and can be downloaded at any time, allowing for comprehensive data-rich reports.

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