Manage demand for Advice & Guidance using the National Consultant Network (NCN)


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

Elective Care

The NCN for Elective Care operates

Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm.

The NCN for Elective Care comprises NHS consultants who are able to answer calls or written requests for advice. 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.

Specialties include:

  • Cardiology (ECG and Echo Report sharing)
  • Dermatology 
  • Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • Elderly Care
  • ENT
  • Gastroenterology
  • General Medicine
  • Gynaecology
  • Haematology
  • Neurology
  • Paediatrics
  • Renal Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Rheumatology
  • Urology

Mental Health

The NCN for Mental Health operates

Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm.

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


Medication advice lines:

Our medication advice lines cover all age groups and support with:

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

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.

Area using NCN across the STP:

“We have the National Consultant Network back-up in place in some specialties, which has boosted answer rates, and has been well received by GPs. We’re looking to back-up more lines with the National Consultant Network.”

South East London STP.

Using NCN consultants to support A&G

One of the biggest challenges for hospitals delivering an Advice & Guidance service is staffing it – particularly during winter. Whether the requests come in from GPs by phone or in writing, most clinicians are expected to respond whilst also doing their day job. Find out how the NCN options can help solve staffing issues, helping to ease winter pressures.

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