Information for ambulance clinicians
across the Scottish Ambulance Service
Please click on an option below to quickly navigate:
How to use Consultant Connect
- Scottish Ambulance Services NHS Trust – Consultant Connect User Guide
- Signing up to the Consultant Connect App
- How it works | Telephone Professional-to-Professional Clinical Decisions via the Consultant Connect App
- COPD Messaging Pathway for NHS Tayside
- Frequently Asked Questions
Hints & Tips
Clinicians in Scotland share their experience
Consultant Connect suggestion box
Results since launch
The Consultant Connect service across the Scottish Ambulance Service is achieving great results. Join your colleagues already using the service, and download the free Consultant Connect App from the App Store or Google Play. If you have any questions relating to the service, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01865 261 467.
Scotland – User Guide
This guide is designed to provide you, and paramedics across Scotland, with all the information needed to make the most out of the service. If you have any questions relating to the service, please contact us by email at email@example.com or call us on 01865 261 467.
Signing Up (to the Consultant Connect App)
If you have yet to sign up to the Consultant Connect service, watch our short video, and download the free Consultant Connect App (from the App Store or Google Play). To start using the service, open the app on your phone, and follow the simple steps to sign up. Please note that only devices running on an Apple operating system (iOS) of 15 and above or an Android operating system of 11 and above will support the Consultant Connect App.
How it works
COPD Messaging Pathway for NHS Tayside
Consultant Connect has been working with the Scottish Ambulance Service in Tayside to support the development of a new COPD pathway to ensure patients with long-term respiratory conditions receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
Please click here to see details of this pathway as well as a step-by-step guide on how to access Consultant Connect to help navigate your patient to the most appropriate care.
Prof to Prof Advice – NHS Tayside
‘Not everyone should be attending the emergency department, but not everyone knows what else is available out-of-hours. For example, NHS 24, GP out-of-hours services, and pharmacists. The emergency department isn’t the general answer to all complaints – it’s not there for “convenience”. We try to direct patients so that they see the right person, in the right place, at the right time. The last time I held the phone, when I took the third call in two hours, I realised that this was the third person who wasn’t being admitted, which is a real result.’
Impact | Ambulance Trusts using Consultant Connect
Ambulance trusts across the country use Consultant Connect to rapidly speak to clinicians for advice, bypassing switchboard or bleep waits. This allows ambulance staff to discuss whether A&E really is the most appropriate place to take patients. All calls and outcomes are recorded, thereby improving safety and governance. Our current data shows that 36% of calls, with reported outcomes, from ambulance staff avoid unnecessary patient conveyances.
Area Case Study | COPD Pathway in Tayside
Via established Professional to Professional lines, Ambulance clinicians can liaise with senior clinicians who have access to patient records and are able to support more informed decisions on the most appropriate pathway for patients. Crews can now refer directly to the Community Respiratory Team via Consultant Connect by filling in a digital form, which goes to the most appropriate team based on the patient’s locality.
Paramedic Case Study
‘It helps to alleviate some of the pressure placed on the Scottish Ambulance Service, as emergency ambulances are very frequently requested to convey GP referrals to hospital. It is a fantastic service which benefits myself and my colleagues and most importantly our patients.’
Paramedic case study: rapid shared care for dementia patient
‘Utilising multidisciplinary prof-to-prof conversation along with shared decision making, resulted in the police being reassured about their duty of care, it provided more efficient use of NHS resources, and most importantly, we absolutely got the right care for our patient.’
Scottish Ambulance Feedback:
‘An excellent way to discuss patient care and the best advice you can get is direct from the consultants treating the patients.’
‘Great to use, helps me ensure I am giving my patients the correct advice and receiving the best information.’
‘During COVID it was good to consult with other professionals and have confidence in leaving patients at home!’
‘Excellent service to get consultant-led advice remotely, really helps with clinical decision making and reducing unnecessary ED attendances.’
‘Having used this service many times, it has helped patients in many different ways. It has prevented unnecessary admissions due to having access to patient records to check previous history.’
Hints & Tips
Click the images below to download our hints & tips guides to help you make the most of the Consultant Connect service in Scotland.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find the answers to our most asked questions to help you get started.
1. How can the service be accessed?
The quickest way to access the service is via the free Consultant Connect App (download on the App Store or Google Play). Within the app, clinicians can make Telephone calls at the touch of a button, as specialty access numbers are pre-programmed.
The Consultant Connect App is a cloud-based service, and therefore, no patient information is stored on the device or within the app. This includes the safe clinical photography feature – PhotoSAF. Photos taken via the app are stored in an IG-secure and GDPR-compliant cloud and not on the device, meaning photos won’t appear on your camera roll or in the recently deleted folder. The photos are automatically sent to your NHS email address and can also be accessed in your browser from a desktop computer by logging in using your credentials for the app. In areas where sharing is enabled, photos and messages can also be sent within the app directly to specialist teams for advice.
Prof-to-prof telephone advice can also be accessed by calling your Health Board’s unique Dial-In Number from any phone. Your Dial-In Number, the specialties you have access to, and their operating hours can be found in your Service Directory. If you do not have your Dial-In Number, please contact the Consultant Connect team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The time it takes a clinician to connect to a specialist for prof-to-prof telephone advice is just 13 seconds (Scotland average).
If you work across multiple Health Boards, please email email@example.com for us to provide you with the correct access.
2. Is the app safe for me to download on my personal phone?
Yes, in addition to Consultant Connect App activity being stored in an IG-secure cloud, two-factor authentication is also required upon initial registration.
Use of the app is entirely voluntary; you can access prof-to-prof telephone advice via your health board’s unique Dial-In Number, and you can send messages for advice in your browser. You can log in using your credentials for the app.
3. Is the service free?
4. Will I pay any phone charges?
If using the app on Wi-Fi, you will not be charged for making a call or sending a message. However, if using the app on 3G/4G/5G, this will come out of your data allowance. Mobile data will only be used if your phone isn’t connected to Wi-Fi. Only a small amount of mobile data is used: 1GB of data allows you to make over 300 calls.
5. Can I still use the service if I have no phone signal or access to Wi-Fi?
Prof-to-prof telephone advice:
If you have poor mobile phone signal and are unable to use Wi-Fi, you can access prof-to-prof telephone advice by calling your Health Board’s unique Dial-In Number from a landline. If you do not know your Dial-In Number, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prof-to-prof messaging advice:
If you are unable to use Wi-Fi and your mobile signal is poor, you can use Consultant Connect in your browser to send Messaging queries, including photos, to specialists. Log in using the same credentials you use for the app and select ‘Messages’ from the main menu. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
6. I have forgotten my password; what should I do?
You can reset your password here.
7. Which specialties can be accessed and during what hours of the day?
The specialties available and the hours of operation are agreed upon by the specialty manager, their teams and the local Health Board.
Calls will only be routed to specialists during the agreed hours of operation. Calls will not be routed to specialists outside of these agreed hours, and specialists are automatically excluded from rotas during any notified periods of holiday. Mobile numbers of those seeking and providing advice are never shared with users.
As well as the Consultant Connect App showing a full list of the available specialties, and their operating hours, each Health Board has a Service Directory that lists this information. The Consultant Connect App and Service Directory are automatically updated whenever changes are made to the service, such as new specialties being added.
8. Who is responsible for the patient whose care is being discussed?
The clinician seeking the advice remains responsible for deciding what treatment is to be provided following receipt of the guidance and whether a referral or admission is appropriate for the patient.
9. Why do users need to input the CHI number?
The CHI number is attached to the medico-legal call recordings and Photo/Message PDFs to assist subsequent retrieval by relevant GP practices and/or hospital teams should it be necessary as a patient identifier.
If no CHI number is input by the clinician, the recordings/PDFs can still be tracked by a date/time reference. If you don’t have access to the patient’s CHI number, you will still be able to initiate an advice query.
10. Why is providing the outcome important?
Leaving an outcome allows your commissioning organisation to monitor the effectiveness of the service. The information also supports the addition of new specialties to the service.
11. Will specialists have access to any patient records?
Specialists are often away from their desks when they take a call. You should assume that the specialists will not have access to any patient records. Any advice given will be based entirely on the information that is provided by you to the specialists via telephone/photo/message.
12. Can I access call recordings?
All calls made via the service are recorded for medico-legal reasons. Call recordings can be accessed in your browser.
Once in Consultant Connect, click on ‘Reports’ and the sub-category ‘Calls’. In the call report, you will see that for any calls you have made via the app, under the column ‘Recording’, there is a cloud icon. Clicking this icon will automatically start downloading an MP3 file of your call to your device.
There is no expiry date for call recordings, so you can go back and listen to previous prof-to-prof calls you placed via the app whenever necessary.
Please note that calls can only be downloaded via your browser and not via the app.
13. Can I send messages for advice via the Consultant Connect App?
Yes, for specialties where this feature has been enabled, clinicians can click on the ‘Messages’ button within the Consultant Connect App to compose and send messages to specialists.
14. Can I send a message for advice if I don’t have a mobile phone?
Whilst the Consultant Connect App is a secure and reliable way to send messages and share patient photos, you can also send messages and share photos, for specialties where this feature has been enabled, sent by patients from your computer. Once logged in to Consultant Connect in your browser (using the same credentials you use to log into the app), you can upload images sent by patients or files for specialist advice.
15. Is there a limit on the size of an image I can send for prof-to-prof advice?
Images up to 211MB can be uploaded without loss of resolution, and this compares to limits of 10MB or less on other systems such as email. This means that the messaging platform can be used for large files such as dermatoscopic images and OCT scans.
16. Whom should I call for help with the service?
For any service/technical queries, please call the Consultant Connect team on 01865 261467 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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