NHS A&G – It’s not just for GPs

Published: 12th July 2021
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.

When Consultant Connect first started providing NHS Advice & Guidance (A&G) it was just GPs that used the service to speak to specialists. Now, Consultant Connect provide A&G to a wider range of medics and community healthcare providers such as; Paramedics, Nurses, Community dental services, Pharmacists, Nurse Prescribers, Tissue Viability Nurses, Care Home clinicians, Optometrists, and Mental Health clinicians.


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.

Consultant Connect lines offer a wide range of clinicians to talk to, not just elective and urgent care. Plus, we help support the integration of community services. Providing direct communication links makes patients feel that care providers are working together rather than providing ‘siloed’ care.

We find that many areas also want to give users Telephone A&G and Photo A&G together, so they have as many tools as possible. All our projects exist alongside e-RS A&G, giving clinicians the additional option of written advice.

Case examples: wider access work in practice

Jonathan Will, Clinical Effectiveness Lead and Specialist Paramedic & Tayside Mountain Rescue Officer at the Scottish Ambulance Service shared a recent example of when he used Consultant Connect for advice on a dementia patient: “Utilising multidisciplinary prof-to-prof conversation along with shared decision making, resulted in the police being reassured about their duty of care, it provided more efficient use of NHS resources, and most importantly, we absolutely got the right care for our patient.”

Read the case study.


Eleanor, an Optometrist, used the Consultant Connect App to make a Telephone Advice & Guidance call to a hospital optometrist during the pandemic. The patient she was treating “was suffering with chronic eyelid dermatitis”. Eleanor’s call was answered within seconds and the optometrist “provided a clear treatment regime” to relay to her patient.

Read the case study.


Sally Shaw, a Service Manager and Lead Nurse at NHS Luton CCG talks about how her team are continuing to significantly improve care despite the pandemic. The rapid Telephone Advice & Guidance service provided by Consultant Connect is believed to be the only nurse-led service of its kind in the country and handles over 600 referrals a month covering four Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Read ‘5 minutes with a Service Manager & Lead Nurse’.


Alex Howard, Optometrist at Specsavers Opticians in Chesterfield, shares an example of how he used the service to benefit a patient: “I recently saw an asymptomatic lady with a small macular hole but good vision. In the past I might have referred her for a routine opinion, and she might have waited a couple of months to be seen in HES, worrying in the meantime. In the event, I was able to call her back later that same day to tell her the ophthalmologist had seen the scan and was happy for us to perform another OCT in the community in 6 months’ time unless she noticed any visual change – a much better outcome for everyone involved.”

Read ‘5 minutes with an Optometrist’.


Raymond McGrath, Lead Nurse at South London & Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust enjoys using Telephone Advice & Guidance to discuss mental health patient’s physical health needs:

“SLaM clinicians have described Consultant Connect to me as ‘fantastic!’. People living with Serious Mental Illnesses experience a significantly reduced life-expectancy complicated by, and as a result of, their physical health co-morbidities.

Consultant Connect helps SLaM clinicians to improve our efforts of redressing that imbalance by, providing quick and easy access to Consultant experts; we can seize the opportunities we spend with people, to help them access care and treatment they might otherwise miss out on or be delayed in receiving.

Making every contact count is so important and, we hope to expand the service to our community services soon because it has been so useful for our inpatient colleagues.”

Read more about how SLaM use Telephone A&G for physical health advice for mental health patients here.


If you have any questions or would like to find out more about how NHS Advice & Guidance via Consultant Connect could benefit your area, email hello@consultantconnect.org.uk or call us on 01865 261 467.

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