Manage demand for services using the National Consultant Network (NCN)


of calls to the NCN have avoided an unnecessary admission or referral.

Elective Care

Our National Consultant Network for Elective Care comprises NHS 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 back up when they can’t respond to requests; and/or
  • Provide specialties that are not available locally, e.g. neurology, dermatology etc; or
  • Answer all Phone Advice & Guidance calls from GPs – leaving local consultants free to help the patients they need to see.

We cover most specialties including:

  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • Elderly Care
  • Gastroenterology
  • Gynaecology
  • Haematology
  • Neurology
  • Paediatrics
  • Renal Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Rheumatology
  • Urology

Mental Health

Our National Network for Mental Health comprises fully trained and accredited NHS Psychiatrists, Pharmacists and Nurse Prescribers that will answer medication/prescribing Advice & Guidance calls.

We offer two medication lines: one for children and young people and one for working age adults.

We understand the importance of keeping young people and adults managed in primary care where it is clinically appropriate to do so and reducing the number of people unnecessarily added to long waiting lists in secondary care.

 Our medication advice lines support with:

  • Medication reviews
  • Potential interactions between drugs and side effects
  • Supporting primary care prescribing
  • Confirming NICE guidance

We offer this service to support GPs with managing a range of conditions in primary care including Anxiety, Depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism, and Psychosis.

The NCN in practice:

Area using NCN in addition to local specialists:

“ The service has provided excellent advice and guidance (to GPs) and enabled them to manage their patients. They were supported to utilise alternative prescribing and managed the patients in primary care effectively.”

Pam Green, Director of Transformation & Strategy, NHS North East Essex CCG.

Area using ONLY NCN to answer calls:

“In our area we decided to provide GPs with a service staffed only by the National Consultant Network. In just eight weeks we have seen a significant impact  – 71% of all calls have resulted in hospital visits being avoided. GP feedback is also very positive – the specialists answer calls quickly and are very helpful.”

Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG.

Blog post

Neurology: from 100-day challenge to business as usual using the NCN

NCN Consultants:

Consultant avoids unnecessary referral for 75-year-old

Dr Sahebjalal likes: “Getting to talk to a number of GPs based in different practices. It also helps to understand what the main or recurring issues and concerns are in the community.” Read on for a recent example of how the advice he gave to a GP avoided an unnecessary referral for a 75-year-old patient. 

Dr Sahebjalal, Consultant Cardiologist, National Consultant Network

Consultant avoids referral for patient with body pain

“The NCN is a good way to keep up the regular practice of clinical advice – in addition to the benefits it brings to patients and their local departments by helping to avoid unnecessary referrals.”  Read on for a recent example of how the advice Dr Kaur gave to a GP avoided an unnecessary referral for a patient with a long history of body pain.

Dr Kaur, Consultant Haematologist, National Consultant Network

Consultant prevents possible stroke for patient

“ The service prevents unnecessary referrals. Perhaps just as importantly, it does significantly increase the quality of medicine being practiced in primary care.” Read on for a recent example of how the advice Dr Davey gave to a GP prevented a possible stroke for a patient.

Dr Davey, Consultant Cardiologist, National Consultant Network

Why it works

In our short video, senior NHS leaders explain why using immediate Advice & Guidance helps them manage demand for services  – watch to find out more. 


Quick to set up 

The typical length of time that it takes to launch a Consultant Connect Advice & Guidance project is six weeks (we have launched projects in two weeks before) and the impact is immediate.

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