One of the biggest challenges for hospitals delivering an advice & guidance service is staffing it. Whether the requests come in from GPs by phone or in writing, most clinicians are expected to respond whilst also doing their day job.
This can mean using consultant admin time, for example, to squeeze in advice & guidance alongside essential paperwork. Planning to take incoming phone calls can be shared amongst teams (“on-call” consultants, answering rotas), but answering calls alongside other duties requires careful management.
Setting time aside specifically for advice by job-planning is a good way of making sure advice is prioritised. The disadvantages are that it stops clinicians from seeing as many patients and that the advice may only be available for small amounts of time, such as 1 – 2pm or only on certain days.
At the end of the day, the problem can be solved by more staff. And, for many specialties, those staff don’t have to be based at your hospital. This allows consultants from other areas who have availability to take advice calls and written requests from your GPs.
That is why we have created a National Specialist Network. The network consists of NHS specialty consultants who are able to answer calls or written requests for advice. For example, they may work part time and be willing to take calls on their days off. These consultants are able to:
- Support your local consultants, acting as a backstop when they can’t respond to requests; and
- Provide specialties that are not available locally, eg. neurology
We are currently able to cover most specialties for phone and written advice & guidance requests, including:
- Diabetes and Endocrinology
Please get in touch with us on 01865 261467 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss using out of area consultants from our network to help deliver advice & guidance in your area.