In The Press: New ‘silver triage’ service to help avoid unnecessary hospital trips

Published: 6th April 2023
Consultant Connect’s ‘silver triage’ project in North London recently featured in Evening Standard.
Evening Standard: New ‘silver Triage’ Service To Help Avoid Unnecessary Hospital Trips Consultant Connect

Consultant Connect’s ‘silver triage’ project in North London recently featured in Evening Standard. You can read the feature here.

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A new “silver triage” service to reduce unnecessary hospital trips and ease pressure in A&E has been launched in North London. The service, which launched in September, connects ambulance crews to consultants in an average of 16 seconds.

The team of consultants give expert clinical advice to paramedics dealing with elderly patients. In four out of five cases, the patient is treated at the scene immediately – avoiding the need for a trip to A&E. For those who are sent to hospital, the consultant advises paramedics on which particular hospital or treatment centre to travel to so that the patient “does not get lost” in A&E.

Jonathan Patrick, the CEO of Consultant Connect, the firm supplying the service, told the Standard:

“Doctors know that when an elderly patient arrives at hospital, even the journey alone will have taken something out of them. That could tip the balance between them being admitted or sent home. The longer that a patient stays at hospital the greater likelihood they are admitted and stay there. With the triage service, the patient gets the care they need immediately. We often talk about ambulances as ‘taxis to hospital’ and forget that inside each ambulance are trained medics.”

Mr Patrick said that the tool empowered paramedics to decide when a patient could stay at home or seek treatment from their GP.

He added:

“Sometimes a fall can look awful but it’s often not so awful and doesn’t need a hospital visit. What we want to do is send those who need to go to hospital there straight away, but also make sure they go to the right place.”

Consultants register their availability for the service on a rota system.

Mr Patrick went on:

“We are not saying we have solved healthcare, but the service is more efficient for ambulances and does give the patient better care.”

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