Primary Care –
information for clinicians across Wales
Please click on an option below to quickly navigate:
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Clinicians in Wales share their experience
- Consultant case study: Acute General Surgery in Cardiff
- 5 minutes with lymphoedema specialists in Wales
- 5 minutes with a GP in Cardiff
- Patient case study
- 5 minutes with a paediatric consultant at Grange University Hospital
- 5 minutes with a GP in Betsi Cadwaladr UHB
- GP case study: Elderly Care
- GP case study: Dermatology
- GP case study: Acute GP Unit Medical Admissions
- 5 minutes with a dental practitioner in Swansea Bay UHB
- 5 minutes with a consultant orthodontist in Swansea Bay UHB
How to use Consultant Connect
- Watch our ‘how to’ videos
- Your Service Directory (personalised information)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Join a Wales drop-in session via Teams
Hints & Tips
Primary Care User Guide
This pack is designed to provide you, and Primary Care clinicians across Wales, with all the information needed to get the most out of the service.
Sign In (to Consultant Connect in your browser)
Click the button below to sign in to Consultant Connect in your browser. If you have yet to sign up for the Consultant Connect service, watch our short ‘How to sign up’ video, click the button below and follow the simple steps to sign up. Once you have created your account you can use the same credentials to download and use the Consultant Connect App (available via the App Store or Google Play). 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.
Your Service Directory
Your Service Directory will show your surgery’s unique Dial-In Number, all available Telephone A&G specialties and their operating hours. To access your Service Directory, click the button below and enter your Dial-In Number.
If you do not know your Dial-In Number, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01865 261 467.
Consultant case study: Acute General Surgery in Cardiff
‘Consultant Connect has been used to simplify and speed up the process of both external and internal referrals to surgery. It has utility both as a directory of services and as a mechanism for allowing rapid communication to WiFi phones carried by clinicians, which have replaced traditional bleeps.’ Dr Morris, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Surgical Same Day Emergency Care at University Hospital of Wales of Cardiff & Vale UHB.
5 minutes with lymphoedema specialists in Wales
‘If a GP or a nurse has a patient in front of them for whom they require prompt answers relating to chronic oedema, I encourage them to call us through Consultant Connect. This way, they can get through to a specialist without delay, who will support them in providing the patient with advice, and efficient management with a prompt referral for support with their care.’ Karen Morgan, National Lymphoedema Education Lead in Wales.
5 minutes with a GP in Cardiff
‘Using Telephone Advice & Guidance was reassuring for me and gave me confidence that I was making the best decision and the patient was relieved that they didn’t need to be admitted to hospital.’ Dr Griffin, GP in Cardiff & Vale UHB, Wales.
Patient case study
‘The Consultant Connect service seems more efficient, timely and uses less staff. Had my condition been more serious, I would have got the treatment I needed at an earlier date, and on that basis, I suspect it is more economical as well.’ 74-year-old patient, Wales.
5 minutes with a paediatric consultant at Grange University Hospital
‘We all know how difficult it can be to find the right numbers, or the right point of contact. With the Consultant Connect service everything is available via one number, or by using the Messaging service through the Consultant Connect App. It’s like a pre-programmed phone directory – and it puts you straight through or if the first person on the rota isn’t available, you’ll automatically be passed onto the next person on the rota rather than having to make a separate phone call.’ Dr Gupta, Paediatric Consultant, Wales.
5 minutes with a GP in Betsi Cadwaladr UHB
‘This way of getting prompt senior advice is extremely positive for the patient and for me as I get instant clinical decision support. I like the educational component of the service – if in the future I have a similar patient case, I might not need to ask that same question again. There’s also a relationship building nature to using the service, when the local teams are involved it’s a great way of networking with them.’ Dr Davies, GP in Betsi Cadwaladr UHB, Wales.
GP case study: Elderly Care
‘It’s worth the five minutes it takes to set this app up to get good timely advice from a consultant. It has saved me time, several admissions and the patient gets appropriate management.’ Dr Triggs, GP in Cardiff & Vale UHB, Wales.
GP case study: Dermatology
‘I get rapid answers to diagnostic queries and management plans, within minutes. This streamlines the process for both patient and clinician, with fewer steps to get the same result. Very quick and easy to use – even for someone who is not technologically minded. Also, the system is very secure.’ Dr Linney, GP in Betsi Cadwaladr UHB, Wales.
GP case study: Acute GP Unit Medical Admissions
‘I get instant access to the correct department or person via a mobile device without needing to search for the correct telephone number or extension.’ Dr Todd, GP in Swansea Bay UHB, Wales.
5 minutes with a dental practitioner in Swansea Bay UHB
‘With Consultant Connect, we get rapid responses to our queries – within two weeks or less. This prevents delay and lets us give peace of mind to our patients because we can advise them on the next steps quickly after seeing them.’ Dr Johnstone, Dental Practitioner in Swansea Bay UHB, Wales.
5 minutes with a consultant orthodontist in Swansea Bay UHB
‘In general, the service is of huge benefit to patients. Being able to advise on orthodontic treatment plans means the DWSI can start certain cases much sooner. Because of recent pressures, the patients would have been waiting probably a year to 18 months before being assessed by us. The Orthodontic Department at Morriston Hospital covers a large geographical area. Some patients could be travelling one and a half to two hours to see us for something that is relatively straightforward. People are busy and children have to miss school. Saving these specific groups of patients having to travel to attend a hospital appointment helps environmentally as well.’ Dr Spencer, Consultant Orthodontist in Swansea Bay UHB, Wales.
Clinician and patient experiences are better…
Ruth Pennington, GP, Betsi Cadwaladr UHB
‘Prompt and helpful service, always professional and polite.’
Alan Evans, Optometrist, Hywel Dda UHB
‘Makes my job so much easier and speeds up exchange of information between specialties.’
Sarah Mihangel, GP, Cardiff & Vale UHB
‘Amazing. I feel comfortable ringing a Consultant through Consultant Connect and find they’re always happy to help. Easy to use- easily navigated interface.’
GP, Betsi Cadwaladr UHB
‘From our point of view, it’s fantastic that we can access a consultant and get a response back. Most of the feedback I’ve received has seen a response in around 30 seconds, so can even be done while a patient is present in the surgery.’
GP, Cardiff & Vale UHB
‘I got good advice quickly from a senior clinician who helped me decide what to do right there and then with a complex patient.’
GP, Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB
‘I have been using the Consultant Connect service and find it extremely useful. For me, as a GP, it provides easy and timely access to specialist consultants who can provide on-the-spot advice, which often means we can avoid referring patients for a hospital appointment. I had one patient who had suffered from a marginally abnormal thyroid function for a long time. During a recent appointment, I was able to speak to an endocrinologist and access immediate advice, which I could pass onto the patient.’
GP, Hywel Dda UHB
‘I sent photos of the patient’s ECG for review. Received advice on the same day about further action and also the need for cardiology review.’
GP, Powys THB
‘Patients have been delighted with the rapid response time for specialist advice, which is helping to bridge the ever-widening gap between seeing me as their GP and having an outpatient appointment. I have found the consultants I have spoken to, to be extremely helpful. Great service, thank you!’
GP, Swansea Bay UHB
‘Quicker to take photos than hunting for our practice camera, and saves the hassle of plugging the camera into my computer!’
Hints & Tips
Click the images below to download our hints & tips guides to help you make the most of the Consultant Connect service in Wales.
If you have any additional questions or need service support from us, please call us on 01865 261 467 or email email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
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). 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. This is to comply with the latest data protection regulations. Within the app, clinicians can make Telephone A&G 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 via Consultant Connect in your browser 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 A&G.
Telephone A&G can also be accessed by calling your surgery’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. Your Service Directory can also be accessed on your desktop computer. Click on the Consultant Connect icon, where you’ll be redirected to your surgery’s Service Directory link. We encourage you to bookmark this link to your browser for easy access.
The time it takes a clinician to connect to a specialist for Telephone A&G is just 25 seconds (Wales average).
If you are a locum clinician, work within multiple organisations, or have recently changed practice, please email email@example.com for us to provide you with the correct access.
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 Telephone A&G via your practice’s unique Dial-In Number, and you can send messages for advice in your browser using your credentials for the app.
Is the service free?
I have forgotten my password; what should I do?
Does this service replace other A&G routes?
No, this service aims to provide users with additional options for quicker and more efficient access to advice and guidance. Pre-existing routes, such as email and local referral systems, will continue to be available.
Out-of-area NHS consultants on the National Consultant Network answer calls from my area; how can they provide advice when they don’t know our local pathways?
Whilst out-of-are NHS consultants may not have knowledge of local pathways, they will be able to provide you with advice and guidance relating to your patients. In many instances, local or out-of-area specialist advice is invaluable and can help improve the care of your patients.
Please note that the NCN may not be available in all Health Boards.
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.
Why do users need to input the NHS number?
The NHS 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 NHS number is input by the Primary Care clinician, the recordings/PDFs can still be tracked by a date/time reference. If you don’t have access to the patient’s NHS number, you will still be able to initiate an advice query.
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.
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.
Can I access call recordings?
All calls made via the service are recorded for medico-legal reasons. Call recordings can be accessed via Consultant Connect in your browser using your credentials for the app.
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, 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 A&G calls whenever necessary.
Please note that calls can only be downloaded via your browser and not via the app.
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.
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 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 (e.g., for Teledermatology*) or files (e.g., ECGs, echo reports, scans, or x-rays) for specialist advice.
* Please see this step-by-step guide on Patient Initiated Teledermatology or watch this 40-second video for more detail.
Is there a limit on the size of an image I can send for advice and guidance?
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 Messaging can be used for large files such as dermatoscopic images and OCT scans.
Make the most of your Consultant Connect service
The Consultant Connect service is free to clinicians across Wales. These videos help clinicians get started with Consultant Connect and include step-by-step explanations of how to use the secure app and dashboard and make the most of it. Click here to watch them on the Consultant Connect Vimeo channel.
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