Referral Triage for the NHS - Consultant Connect

Reduce your waiting list with Referral Triage and Validation for the NHS

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Nhs Consultants

Remote NHS consultant capacities

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Can work through backlogs / new in referrals

High Volumes

Manages high volumes quickly

Right Service

Directs to right service first time


Communicates all via local systems e.g e-RS

About the service:

Our clinically-led Referral Triage and Validation service supports hospital trusts needing additional temporary capacity for referrals. The service uses the clinical expertise of NHS consultants across 17 specialties from our National Consultant Network (NCN). Working remotely, as ‘virtual locums’, they follow local pathways and protocols, and, under the leadership of the local clinical leads, support with triaging and validating waiting list backlogs in bulk and/or new referrals as they come in. They can also review and validate follow-up lists to ensure patients are seen/discharged in the most appropriate way (e.g., face-to-face, virtual, discharged to PIFU pathways etc.).

The NCN also supports trusts across the country with reviewing pre-referral Advice & Guidance queries. This service can be delivered on e-RS or other systems with no change to current flows. Find out more here.


of referrals are being returned to the referring clinician with advice or redirected to a more appropriate pathway

*dependent on specialties

Dermatology triage manages clinical risk and captures upgraded patients to 2WW - Consultant Connect

How it works:

NHS consultants who are brought in act as ‘remote locum’ consultants, working as part of a local team and briefed to follow local protocols and pathways. Our switch-on/switch-off model means as your local capacities change, the service can be increased to cover more specialties, reduced or turned off completely with 72 hours’ notice.

Key benefits:

  • Manages high volumes quickly
  • Returns referrals with a management plan to Primary Care where appropriate
  • Identifies important upgrades as well as downgrades
  • Directs referrals to the right service first time
  • Initiates diagnostics where needed
  • Follows local pathways
  • Communicates all results via e-RS
  • Charged on a per referral basis
  • 100% outcome reporting
  • Validates follow up lists to ensure patients are seen/discharged in the most appropriate way (F2F, virtual, discharged to PIFU etc.)

17 specialties available:

  1. Cardiology
  2. Dermatology
  3. Diabetes and Endocrinology
  4. Elderly Care
  5. E.N.T
  6. Gastroenterology
  7. General Surgery
  8. Gynaecology
  9. Haematology
  10. Neurology
  11. Ophthalmology
  12. Paediatrics
  13. Renal Medicine
  14. Respiratory Medicine
  15. Rheumatology
  16. Trauma & Orthopaedics
  17. Urology

NHS commissioner and consultant feedback:

Olivia MosleyService Lead – Community Paediatrics, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust:

‘Consultant Connect has supported Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust to cast a fresh eye over referrals coming into the service and better understand the source of referrals and, consequently, their understanding of Community Paediatrics. Consultant Connect put things into place quickly and supported us every step of the way to ensure that we were happy with the process – their contact with us has been much appreciated and very efficient- we have built a strong working relationship. Not only have they been professional in their involvement, but their buy-in into how they know they support our treatment offer is impressive, considering the barriers we are all against. It has been a pleasure to work with them so far, and I’m sure once our initial project is complete that we will find some more work for them! Their prompt work turnaround has helped our workforce (operational and clinical) look at our problems differently and question our processes.’

Helen West, System Lead for Elective Recovery, Coventry and Warwickshire ICB:

‘As an ICB we have worked closely with Consultant Connect and our Provider Organisations for referral validation and triage. Consultant Connect are a responsive and professional organisation. They have gone out of their way to provide timely support and services to set this project up. They always have been flexible to our needs working around our systems and processes to help deliver our projects. Their team of staff are friendly and knowledgeable and always engage to provide the best service possible. They deliver a service in the background that has assisted us to improve the delivery of our services and ultimately more timely care to our patients.’

Louise Tuckett, Director of Strategy, Planning & Performance, The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust:

‘Our work with Consultant Connect has been incredibly effective in driving more efficient patient pathways and ensuring the most effective use of our clinical resources. The operational team have always been very responsive and flexible to our needs, and all the clinicians who delivered the referral triage provided excellent input, in some cases going above and beyond the ask and offering suggestions as to how we could improve our patient pathways to reduce the time to diagnosis and treatment. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with Consultant Connect in the coming months to support our work to reduce the time our patients are waiting for their initial consultation or diagnosis.’

NCN NHS Consultant:

‘As a specialist in colorectal and general surgery, I think the referral triage project is an excellent idea. I was involved in the initial trial, and I have seen referrals which clearly were inappropriate and caused delays in patient management.’

Dr Adam Shakir, Consultant ENT and Head & Neck surgeon:

‘I found it straightforward and uncomplicated – best done on a laptop/desktop to allow good review of supporting documents. The ability to change referral priority and reply with Advice & Guidance is helpful. It’s also good that supporting photographs can be reviewed in the system.’

NCN NHS Consultant:
‘The opportunities for the NHS are shorter waiting lists at the hospitals – what’s not to like about that!’
NCN NHS Consultant:
‘The process Consultant Connect have set up is straightforward and uncomplicated. This means turnaround is fast. We can reply with Advice & Guidance or change a referral priority.’

NCN NHS Consultant: 

‘A number of referrals were identified to be re-triaged into another department in the hospital, saving an unnecessary first outpatient appointment.’

NCN NHS Consultant:

‘I can’t fault any aspect of the triage project as it was easy to access the referrals and make an input.’

Click here: Frequently Asked Questions – Referral Triage and Validation

Outcomes and Impact

Our new infographic reveals key impact to date along with service benefits and project examples. Find out more and download your copy today.
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Rtt Webinar

Reduce referral-to-treatment wait times through triage and validation​

Hear from our experts in Neurology and Dermatology on how the National Consultant Network is helping NHS areas needing extra clinical capacity to reduce their waiting lists. It’s a switch on/switch off service.

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