Switch on/switch off consultant resource

Published: 12th January 2022
Staffing shortages? Turn on the National Consultant Network - we have hundreds of NHS consultants available.
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We have hundreds of NHS consultants available to take Advice & Guidance queries (telephone or written) and/or deliver referral triage. If you are short of staff, the National Consultant Network (NCN) can be switched on in just 24-48 hours. It can also be switched off that quick when it’s no longer needed. For a longer-term solution, the NHS consultants from the NCN can deliver your patient consultations and ward rounds using Telemedicine Devices.

Here’s how some of our customers are using the NCN:

Backing up Telephone Advice & Guidance

Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital have been using Consultant Connect’s Advice & Guidance service for over four years to reduce unnecessary referrals. They decided last week to switch on the NCN. Carl Holland, the Deputy Chief Operating Officer, explains why:

“The pressure on our hospitals had reached a serious level at both Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital, and as a county, we had called a system critical incident, so we were looking for a solution with an immediate impact. One phone call to Consultant Connect and 24 hours later, our entire Elective Care Advice & Guidance service at both hospitals was fully backed up by their National Consultant Network. This means if our local consultant teams cannot answer Advice & Guidance calls, they will be picked up by an out-of-area NHS consultant. This is already freeing local consultants up to be on the wards treating our high volumes of patients coming in as emergencies. When the pressure has reduced, I can call Consultant Connect again to remove the backup.”

NHS North Central London CCG has been using the NCN to back up Advice & Guidance lines for over two years. Keith Spratt, Head of Contracts, comments:

“Consultant Connect was initially brought in to support primary care during the first stages of the pandemic, to allow them access to specialist support. Whenever local resources cannot answer queries, we can rely on Consultant Connect’s national network of NHS consultants as a back-up. Increasingly the service is helping other parts of the system, from Mental Health to SEDCs and paramedics. It really supports healthcare professionals from different parts of the system to support each other and can be set up at short notice. For example, when we needed to add a COVID Oximetry @ Home support line just before Christmas, this was set up within a matter of a few hours.”

The NCN offers 19 Elective Care specialties and operates Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm, and Sat-Sun, 9am-5pm, with some offered at extended hours. The service also covers Mental Health. For more information, click here. 

Referral triage

The NCN can also be switched on to deliver a triage service for hospital trusts needing additional temporary capacity for referrals. The service uses the expertise of NHS consultants to work through backlogs in bulk or back-up local clinicians (for backlogs and/or new referrals as they come in).

Carl Holland explains, We have been working in partnership with Consultant Connect for over four years, and I am very impressed with their ongoing support and service. In addition to Advice & Guidance, we are using their NCN consultants to triage our cardiology waiting list and triage new cardiology referrals as they come in, which has been very successful so far.”  To read the press coverage on this, click here. 

Delivering care without having to be physically there

Telemedicine Devices are revolutionising care by enabling NHS specialist consultants to see, hear and speak with patients as if they were at their bedside – even if they are miles away at a different hospital or location. This means NHS consultants from the National Consultant Network can deliver your ward rounds or patient consultations when local consultants are unavailable – saving thousands in locum costs.

If you have any questions or would like to switch on the NCN in your area, please contact us:

T: 01865 261467 E: hello@consultantconnect.org.uk





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