Patient Connect in Emergency Medicine

Published: 3rd November 2021
Implementing a system giving patients with non-emergency/ non 999 circumstances (who are directed to attend hospital via NHS 24) access to an immediate consultation from emergency consultants is paying off for a Scottish Health Board. It’s part of the redesign of urgent care in Scotland initiative and NHS 24.

Non-emergency patients in NHS Lanarkshire, that had previously been asked to attend an emergency department within one to four hours, are now being asked to wait at home until they get a call back from a senior clinician, from the Flow Navigation centre to discuss the best course of action. Patients are being called back within 1-4 hours.

NHS Lanarkshire has seen a significant impact since introducing the ‘Patient Connect’ service in December 2020 at University Hospital Monklands with the aim of getting patients the right care faster and first time. Patient Connect is Consultant Connect’s approach that allows patients and their carers to speak directly with clinicians. The system allows a clinician to ring a patient directly and tracks and records that call, including the call outcome.

  • 2,360 calls to patients have been made since the launch
  • 30% of calls result in the patient not having to attend A&E as a result.


Dr Gordon McNeish, Emergency Medicine consultant and project lead explains “Using Consultant Connect to contact patients directly, gives us the flexibility to work remotely, the confidence that calls are being recorded for governance, and the benefit of being able to rapidly analyse outcomes. The greatest benefit is to the patients who can often be given an appropriate alternative to having to wait in a crowded Emergency Department.”


Patient Connect case study | Hospital transfer avoided for an elderly patient in a nursing home with a scalp wound

How it works

Before making a Patient Connect call the emergency medical consultant is provided with full access to the patient’s medical records, including history and medication, etc.

Calls are recorded for medico-legal purposes and reporting data is provided to University Hospital Monklands and NHS Lanarkshire so usage and outcomes can be monitored. Personal telephone numbers are never displayed, and the platform is fully IG secure and GDPR compliant.

During the call, the consultant can use their knowledge of local ED and what is available in the community via e.g., local opticians, pharmacists, dentists, etc. to find patients the right care.


  • Available 12pm-8pm, 7 days a week
  • Consultants answer calls from the hospital or working remotely at home with direct links in with nurses at the hospital via their PC.
Patient feedback

Patients are generally delighted to hear that an emergency medicine consultant will be calling them directly. Often, they know that they don’t need to go to an emergency department. The ability to talk through their condition provides the reassurance that they don’t need to attend hospital.

Emergency Medicine consultants can also bring in advice from other specialists, in the hospital using the Consultant Connect platform to quickly speak to colleagues. This is ideal for many patients including those with post-op or long-term condition needs. If a follow-up is needed the Emergency Medicine consultant can also arrange this for the patient which further expedites care.

Key benefits

For clinicians: 

  • Ability to contribute significantly to patient care whilst working remotely or at home.
  • The call recordings are also being used to deliver appropriate training.
  • They only see the patients they need to see.

For patients:

  • Instant reassurance, avoidance of stress or worry.
  • Avoidance of costs (childcare, missing work) and disruption through unnecessary hospital visits and long waits.
  • Right care, faster.


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