There are several clinical tasks that lend themselves to being efficiently delivered remotely. Where local consultant capacity is stretched, under the leadership of a local clinical lead, this clinical activity can be carried out by NHS consultants from outside of a local hospital. Our National Consultant Network brings in the expertise of remote NHS consultants to deliver this activity as a service, with no disruption to local workflows and using local systems.
Costs involved are per case and charged ‘pay as you go’ or ‘on demand’, meaning as local clinical capacities change, NHS areas can switch on/switch off the service with 72 hours’ notice.
NHS consultants are brought in on a short or long-term ‘virtual locum’ basis, they can:
- Respond to Advice & Guidance (A&G) requests (on e-RS or other systems with no change to your current flows)
- Triage referrals (including long waiter backlogs and/or new referrals as they come in)
- Review and validate overdue follow-up lists (ensuring patients are seen/discharged in the most appropriate way, e.g. face to face or virtual appointment, discharged to PIFU services etc.)
- A&G requests: On average, 68% of referrals result in the patient no longer needing to be seen in Secondary Care
- Referral triage and validation: Expect 30-45% of referrals to be returned with A&G or be redirected to a more appropriate pathway (pathway availability dependant)
How long does it take to get started?
The service is entirely delivered remotely. The initial set-up is usually completed within 2-3 weeks and with 72 hours’ notice, can be switched on/switch off.
How it works
- One or two NHS consultants from our network are assigned to a project (depending on volumes)
- Our consultants are briefed on local pathways
- Our consultants work under the leadership of the local clinical lead
- All data is recorded for audit, training and improvement purposes
In Practice | Project examples:
Example 1: Using the service to answer A&G queries
The Menopause A&G line was launched in June 2023 across multiple Consultant Connect projects, providing clinicians with access to rapid advice from out-of-area NHS consultant gynaecologists on the NCN.
In the four months since launch, the service has seen:
- an 86% first-time answer rate, with calls, on average, answered within 22 seconds
- 89% of calls* have resulted in patients avoiding unnecessary admissions or referrals
* where an outcome was left
Example 2: Using the service to safely reduce Community Paediatrics waiting list
This NHS area had a backlog of over 450 community paediatrics referrals. They used our consultant-led referral triage service to reduce clinical risk and clear the waiting list:
- 42.7% of patients were returned to the referring clinician with advice and a comprehensive management plan
- 57.3% of patients were booked into routine appointments without diagnostics with the community paediatrics team
Example 3: Used the service to safely reduce Dermatology waiting list
This NHS area had a backlog of over 4,000 dermatology referrals. They used our consultant-led referral triage service to reduce clinical risk and clear the waiting list:
- 47% of referrals received advice to commence treatment immediately
- 2% of referrals upgraded to 2ww
Example 4: Used the service to safely reduce Neurology waiting list
This NHS area had a backlog of over 1,000 neurology referrals. They used our consultant-led referral triage service to reduce clinical risk and clear the waiting list:
- 58% of referrals removed from the waiting list (52% returned to the GP with a detailed management plan, 5% redirected to another service, 1% directed to First Fit)
- 42% of referrals directed to the right place, first time (24% accepted to general clinics, 14% accepted to specialist clinics, 4% upgraded to urgent)
If you have any questions or would like to find out how our services can support your area, email email@example.com, call us on 01865 261 467 or fill in the short form below to request a call back from the team: