When Consultant Connect first started providing Advice & Guidance (A&G) it was just GPs that used the service to speak to specialists. We are increasingly being asked to provide access to a wider range of medics and community healthcare providers such as; Paramedics, Nurses, Pharmacists, Nurse Prescribers, Mental Health Clinicians, and Social Workers.
It’s often still very difficult in the NHS to speak to the right person when timely advice is really needed – especially if a patient’s needs are complex.
We are now setting up Consultant Connect lines that offer primary care teams a wide range of clinicians to talk to (not just elective and urgent care). Last week, for example, we set up:
- MS Specialist Nurse Advice Line
- Acute Adult Medical Advice Line
- ECG/Echo Report Line
All in different areas of the country.
Providing direct communication links between primary and secondary care 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.
The above approaches are a big tick in the integrated care box of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Case examples: wider access work in practice
Michael, a paramedic, used Telephone Advice & Guidance to rapidly speak to an A&E consultant about a patient experiencing “the potential of a stroke mimic.” Michael thought the patient was experiencing a Bell’s palsy. The A&E Consultant was able to talk to Michael through a few simple steps to confirm his suspected diagnosis. Michael says, “The patient was happy that the outcome meant a local appointment with their GP as opposed to an 80-mile round trip to hospital.” Read the case study.
Kirsty has worked as a nurse for 21 years and uses the IG secure photo feature (PhotoSAF) on the Consultant Connect App to take pictures of patients’ dermatological issues. A patient who was under Kirsty’s care was suffering from a leg ulcer which was taking a very long time to heal. The patient “felt that the wound was not healing at all at some points.” She had become “very low in mood as the wound was also malodourous.” By taking photos of the condition, “the patient’s progress was tracked.” Kirsty knows that if she ever needs to speak to her local dermatologist, she can get through quickly using the telephone function on the App. Read the case study.
A&G – It’s not just for GPs – Related case studies:
- Rapid ICC Hub Advice Service for GPs and Paramedics
- Advanced Paramedic Practitioner uses Safe Clinical Photography both in a surgery setting and when visiting patients at home
- Paramedic uses Phone Advice & Guidance to speed up treatment for elderly patient
- Junior Doctors use Phone Advice & Guidance to streamline patient care, admissions and discharges in NHS Tayside