The role of Advice & Guidance in the community

Published: 4th January 2022
NHS Coventry & Warwickshire CCG expanded their project to give community teams (including place-based and ACP teams) in South Warwickshire access to Consultant Connect. They have achieved their objective to speed up communications between teams. This supports patient discharge and, where appropriate, keeps patients' care closer to home. We share the project's performance to date.

Our Telephone Advice & Guidance project in Warwickshire, commissioned by NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group, has been running for over five years giving primary care clinicians access to local Consultants from the three local trusts in 24 specialties (specialties available to primary care teams will differ depending on the locality of the GP practices and their proximity to the local trusts).

NHS Coventry & Warwickshire CCG have expanded their project to give community teams (including Place Based and ACP teams) in South Warwickshire access to Consultant Connect. They have achieved their objective to speed up communications between teams. This supports patient discharge and, where appropriate, keeps patients’ care closer to home. We share the project’s performance to date.

Junior to senior, senior to specialist how it works

Place Based teams* (PBTs) can use the Consultant Connect App or their unique Dial-In Number to rapidly call Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) teams to refer a patient. The referral is then either accepted or rejected by the ACP team. Where the ACP team needs further advice relating to the patient’s referral, they, in turn, can use Consultant Connect to rapidly speak with specialists at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust.

This flow of Advice & Guidance is beneficial as it enables patients to have their care treated closer to home and helps fast-track those who need treatment in hospital.

To date, performance from the ACP team has been as follows:

  • Over 400 calls received (from Frailty consultants, Primary Care, Place Based Teams)
  • 26 seconds average connection time
  • Of calls where outcomes were reported, 40% of calls result in hospital avoidance.

We asked Michelle Danhay, Clinical Practitioner in SWFT to explain how her and her team use Consultant Connect, she said:

 

“We are an out of hospital care team responding to urgent (2-hour response) visit requests from the acute frailty consultants. We also accept referrals from GPs, community nurses and therapists for same day assessments of deteriorating patients to prevent hospital admission. It is important that referrers are able to contact the team without delay and Consultant Connect has streamlined this process both for the referrer and for our team.

 

The team can set the Consultant Connect rota according to staff availability.  When a call is made, if the first contact is busy the call is forwarded onto the next, ensuring the referrer is always able to speak to a clinician.  The clinician is then able to triage the referral, the referrer knows immediately if the visit has been accepted and this reduces delays to patient contact.

 

Consultant Connect provides a quick access route for our team to consultants in the acute hospital. Clinicians can contact colleagues for advice whilst still in the patient’s home, ensuring an agreed multidisciplinary management plan is devised. For our team, this has resulted in the avoidance of hospital admission on a number of occasions.”

 

*Place Based Teams are designed to be the heart of Out of Hospital services. They deliver services to people close to their place of residence and work in partnership with GPs and primary care. They operate with a multi-disciplinary approach, initially focussing on the top 5% of the population, i.e. individuals with long term conditions.

Related links:

 

If you have any questions or would like to find out how we can support your area, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01865 261 467 or email hello@consultantconnect.org.uk

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