What consultants and GPs think of Consultant Connect – survey results

Published: 3rd August 2016

shutterstock_376185307GPs are extremely busy. Hospital consultants are extremely busy. So, how do they feel about taking time out of their day to speak with each other about patients? What are they using it for?

When we work with clinicians on Consultant Connect projects, we survey them at regular intervals to find out the answers to these questions. We publish below the (verbatim) results of July 2016 surveys in two different areas, but the results can be summarised as follows:

  • Both GPs and consultants overwhelmingly support Consultant Connect
  • GPs and consultants feel that Consultant Connect is good for healthcare in their area and that it improves integration between primary and secondary healthcare
  • Although it is successful at keeping patient care with the GP, on the occasions where a hospital trip is necessary, the patient gets better care

 

SURVEY 1 – A PROJECT IN THE SW OF ENGLAND

GP Survey Results

  • GPs who felt Consultant Connect (“CC”) has a positive impact on their work – 91%
  • GPs who felt patients appreciated the input of a consultant to their care – 78%
    (remaining 22% of respondents were unaware of whether patients did or didn’t appreciate the input)
  • GPs who felt that talking to a consultant enhanced their knowledge in an area – 87%
  • GPs who felt CC improves integration between GPs and hospital teams – 96%
  • GPs who felt CC improved patient care – 96%

Consultant Survey Results

  • Consultants that felt the system was easy to use – 100%
  • Consultants that felt that GPs were making appropriate use of the service – 88%
  • Consultants that felt that CC helped them work better with GPs – 88%
  • Consultants that felt that CC was good for healthcare in [AREA] – 100%

What GPs are using the service for (verbatim responses):

  • Often allows initial tests and treatment to be initiated prior to an appointment being made
  • have discussed cardiology patient with Dr XXX who took the details of the patient, provided advice and booked the appointment for patient to be seen himself
  • Asking a cardiologist about pauses on an ECG and whether I could give a betablocker or if a PPM needed – useful learning for myself, what to look out for and what to do if patient feels faint
  • Phoned about an ECG and had instant answer, patient was seen in clinic very soon afterwards, less time than the letter would have taken
  • Phoned about complex elderly care case, very helpful response and appropriate inpatient care in correct place much sooner than would have otherwise
  • Patient with clinical renal colic, should I admit to hospital or treat as outpatient, what tests to order? Consultant advised on what test to order now, when to admit if getting worse and what to do with test results.
  • Complex young patient with melaena, I intended to treat patient at home, rang consultant to check this was alright and he advised given complex history and potential for serious bleeds I should admit patient to hospital immediately.
  • Called re a patient in 70s who was bradycardic – advised a plan and said he would also look at 24hr tape readings
  • Uncertainty regarding endocrinology condition – what tests needed, whether referral needed. Saved a referral.
  • Discussed patient with urological problem. Would probably otherwise have had to admit
  • Urologist – arranged urgent OPA which was great. Endocrine have helped with dosing medications and getting people seen quickly.
  • Difficult warfarin decision. Sound guidance to avoid warfarin when I might have been tempted by CHADS VAsc scoring to start it.
  • Fantastic offer of next week urology appointment for patient who was threatening suicide because of unbearable unexplained dysuria.
  • Today rang Urology as concerned re patient, and felt might need admission, by having discussion, weighing up pros & cons, patient able to be treated appropriately at home.
  • Required quick advice on complex endocrinology patient which was provided by consultant connect. In the old days this would have been very difficult and taken much longer to arrange.
  • I have received advice in the last week about whether/how to admit a patient. I have also received advice about a change of medication while awaiting an OPD.
  • Dr XXX and I were able to avoid admission and manage a patient over a period of several weeks first by phone then mail. Patient was very grateful and kept in loop at all times.
  • Recent discussion with endocrinologist and a cardiologist with patients with me in surgery enhancing clinical care saving referrals.

SURVEY 2 – A PROJECT IN THE MIDLANDS

GP Survey Results

  • GPs who felt Consultant Connect (“CC”) has a positive impact on their work – 98%
  • GPs who felt patients appreciated the input of a consultant to their care – 90%
  • GPs who felt that talking to a consultant enhanced their knowledge in an area – 97%
  • GPs who felt CC improves integration between GPs and hospital teams – 95%
  • GPs who felt CC improved patient care – 95%

Consultant Survey Results

  • Consultants that felt the system was easy to use – 86%
  • Consultants that felt that CC helped them work better with GPs – 79%
  • Consultants that felt that CC was good for healthcare in [AREA] – 86%

What GPs are using the service for (verbatim responses):

  • A discussion was made on weight loss symptoms in a patient and further investigations were performed which very likely saved an appointment and also meant that the patient was put on the right pathway early.
  • A lady discharged from hospital who had a raised potassium level – the consultant was able to look at all her recent blood test results, explain what was happening and advise me what to do.
  • A scan result which I was happy about but wanted reassurance concerning it.
  • Able to check how to refer this pt on to secondary care i.e. 2ww or urgent referral or get advice about how to adjust medication immediately which has benefited the pt.
  • Able to prevent a referral and give pt reassurance that the plan was correct.
  • Advice on an ECG for a patient with new changes – meant that I could reassure patient, and avoid admission.
  • Advice on medication when doing a home visit on a patient who had poor kidney function post op. I was able to adjust his medication there and then and the fact that I had spoken to the consultant gave both me and the patient confidence that I was doing the right thing.
  • Advice regarding an ultrasound scan and best referral process. Advice about blood results with haematology.
  • Advice about what investigations to do prior to referral to help patient management with haematology query.
  • Avoided admission for patient with low calcium.
  • Clarification referral pathway Patient having problems after episiotomy 3 weeks post delivery, consultant confirmed patient could attend Labour ward for review
  • Difficult haematological problem. Avoided admission but used appropriate out patient services.
  • Has prevented several referrals and has managed to get queries about care answered quickly.
  • Helped in my decision whether or not to refer or could be dealt with in community with advice.
  • I discussed a case of low plts with the haematologist-good advice given.
  • I discussed a patient with a gastroenterologist and was able to avoid a referral to secondary care.
  • I had a patient with me who had slightly high calcium and PTH. This would be a referral. He was well and the tests were marginally raised. The consultant confirmed my suspected diagnosis and gave me safe thresholds to repeat and when to refer.
  • I had a patient with suspected lymphoma and discussed with haematologist who explained that the best course of action was to refer to head and neck rapid access to obtain a biopsy for tissue diagnosis in the first instance and then involve haematology if lymphoma was confirmed. This streamlined the patient’s management pathway and avoided unnecessary delay and was more satisfying for GP and patient. Also patient could hear discussion and felt reassured and confident in management plan.
  • I have used it to discuss haematology results with the haematologist, and to discuss unusual endocrine results with the endocrinologists, and on both occasions this has prevented a secondary care referral, whilst offering a comprehensive explanation to me and the patient that I been unable to obtain via other means (ie my own research or reading).
  • I required some help to get a newly diagnosed diabetic patient seen asap.
  • In explaining to a patient that he still had diabetes for insurance purposes although hba1c levels had been in the normal range following significant and sustained weight loss.
  • New diagnosed and unstable diabetic – I knew he needed ref to hospital but was able to ensure he was seen by the diabetic team and pt had hospital at home over weekend rather than being admitted.
  • Patient who had abnormal blood results and 2ww was advised rather than routine.
  • Patient with colitis needed advice on immediate management rather than just asking to bring forward next outpatient appt. Reduced time of patient suffering with symptoms.
  • Uncertainty over correct diagnosis of type of diabetes due to conflicting results and was able to have definitive answer
  • When I could not work out why a patient who was on no diabetes treatment was getting hypos, and the consultant quickly came up with an idea and a plan (did end up in rapid outpatient appointment but was the best thing for the patient).

If you would like to know more about setting up a telephone Advice & Guidance project in your area, please call us on 01865 261451 or email us at info@www.consultantconnect.org.uk.

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