It is well recognised that significant numbers of consultants are themselves potentially clinically vulnerable from COVID-19. As with others in the clinically vulnerable population, they have been required to ‘shield’ during the pandemic.
However, we have found that many shielding consultants across the UK are eager to continue to contribute their vast experience to the different components of service delivery. They have also felt that continuing to ‘play their part’ in the team has improved their own wellbeing.
Maintain A&G Services
One extremely helpful role shielding consultants can play is to work from home and maintain Advice & Guidance services to GPs, Paramedics, nurses etc, or to run virtual clinics. To do this effectively home working needs to be set up quickly.
Technology plays a vital role but prioritising device and account activation is essential to avoid potential delays to working remotely.
For existing Consultant Connect customers we have already been supporting home working by extending existing IG secure Consultant Connect services at no extra cost (subject to Ts & Cs). Arrangements can be put in place by us in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months and no additional technology is required.
One paramedic told us:
“It’s great that we can still access senior advice from a single source that understands the challenges of our environment, distances from available hospitals, our guidelines, and what skills and drugs we have available.”
With Consultant Connect all call activity is tracked and calls are recorded for subsequent upload to EPRs. We will also supply hospitals and commissioning management with regular reporting so they can monitor this initiative.
Consultant Connect Advice & Guidance also works on a rota system. One shielding consultant has told us:
“It’s very helpful for colleagues in being able to plan well ahead and understand when their very necessary rest times will be.”
“It’s good because I can choose when I am available. And if I can’t answer a call, I ignore it because I know the colleagues next to me on the rota will pick it up.”
We have also set up Consultant Connect Telephone lines to enable shielding consultants to help junior colleagues in hospital who need immediate advice. Calls are connected in 27 seconds (on average).
Consultants are also providing more general advice to Junior Doctors via Consultant Connect, covering aspects such as “how to manage a patient, remote review of X-rays and which specialty a patient should be referred to.” Junior Doctors are able to do all of this with the knowledge that calls are recorded, so if ever required, hospitals are able to identify and interrogate calls via the Consultant Connect system.
If you have any questions about how we can help in your area, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or 01865 261467.