Welsh health minister, Vaughan Gething mentioned Consultant Connect in his live briefing to the press on Tuesday 2nd June. He confirmed that Consultant Connect is part of a range of support introduced to help deal with the COVID-19 outbreak and support patients and primary care in the long term. Click on the link or image below to listen to the briefing (we are mentioned at 3mins50s into the recording). You can also read the Welsh Government’s press release which includes a quote from Mr Gething further below:
Published 21st May 2020 – Llywodraeth Cymru/Welsh Government
New app to provide specialist advice to GPs in seconds
Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has approved £650,000 funding for a new system to allow GPs, paramedics and other healthcare professionals to get immediate specialist advice when reviewing and treating patients.
The Consultant Connect app has been fast-tracked for use in NHS Wales to help deal with the COVID-19 outbreak and support primary care in the long term to offer better advice and guidance to patients.
By accessing speedy advice, the new app will help prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and referrals and ensure that those needing hospital treatment are managed accordingly.
The core service, being rolled out across Wales, gives clinicians access to specialists in respiratory medicine, cardiology, diabetes, palliative care and acute medicine for COVID. Health Boards can also add access to a range of local advice that is appropriate to their patients’ needs.
A GP or other clinician accesses the service either by dialling a phone number or using the Consultant Connect app. After choosing a specialty from a menu they are connected with a specialist in an average of 25 seconds.
The Minister said: “I am very pleased we are able to start rolling out the Consultant Connect in NHS Wales. This will help to support primary care to determine the right treatment for their patients.
“Right now it will save crucial time for health care professionals and reduce the amount of hospital visits needed by patients, at a time when our NHS is facing extra pressure.
“In the long-term the use of this technology is an important part of our plan for the future of health and social care, A Healthier Wales. Making the most of technology is vital to us building a modern health and social care service, in which care is delivered closer to home.”
Frances Duffy, Welsh Government’s Director for Digital, Change and Innovation, said “It is important that primary care (including doctors, opticians and dentists) can access immediate advice and guidance to help them treat a patient quickly and effectively and hopefully avoiding a trip to the hospital for the patient. This is why we have invested in the setting up of a national advice and guidance system with the support of Consultant Connect. After the first few weeks we are starting to see an increase in the number of GPs using the service and hospital referrals being avoided.“
Consultant Connect CEO Jonathan Patrick said “We’ve seen the hugely positive impact immediate advice can have for patients and clinicians in England and Scotland, so we are delighted to be able to extend this across the whole of Wales. Nobody wants to go to hospital at the moment unless it’s really necessary. This service gives calling GPs and paramedics support for their decision to treat a patient in the community rather than hospital if it’s the right care for that patient.
On a wider note, this decision to innovate rapidly and at scale by the Welsh Government means that over 25 million patients in the UK are covered by Consultant Connect. The service bridges the gap between primary and secondary care and, together with patient-to-clinician video consultations, forms a key part of the ‘virtual first’ service that the modernised NHS is starting to offer across the UK”.
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The Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething spoke today about how Consultant Connect is part of a range of support introduced to help deal with the COVID-19 outbreak and support patients and primary care in the long term.