Why Four Avoided Referrals Are Exciting

Published: 8th July 2015

Yesterday we helped four people avoid a referral to hospital in an area in Essex.

This is a small number, not even a flea bite on the rump of the elephant that is referral numbers in this part of Essex. But, in context, it is exciting. Why?

Firstly, it shows that Consultant Connect is working. GPs call Consultant Connect if they are thinking of referring a patient to hospital. Of 4 calls placed by local GPs yesterday, all 4 were answered by local hospital consultants. After Advice & Guidance conversations averaging 4 minutes, each of the 4 patients was treated by their GP and not referred to hospital. A 100% referral avoidance rate.

Secondly, yesterday’s activity prompted some discussion amongst GPs, who are just starting to use the system. This is a verbatim quote from a GP writing to other GPs in their practice (and kindly shared with us by the Practice Manager):

“I tried this today for a patient with ED and low testosterone levels. Spoke to [local Endocrinology consultant] and he gave advice over the phone. My initial plan was to refer but now after his advice I have cancelled the referral. It took 30 seconds to connect to the consultant and 3 minutes to discuss the case. No hassle at all. Please have a go if you get a chance!”

In short, GPs are enthusiastic. In some ways this result is as important as the avoided referrals, giving the GPs a tool that enables them to work better, deliver a better patient experience.

Finally, and this is probably the most exciting fact of all: the service only launched 10 days ago. We are in week 2 of a change project and it is already delivering results. To quote one of the NHS project managers: “this project has more than covered its costs from week 1”.

Consultant Connect’s brief was to roll the system out quickly and deliver results in the first quarter. We have done exactly that: from agreement to proceed to the system being ready took 2 weeks. Now, less than 2 weeks after launch, the system is easily covering its costs and delivering better healthcare for patients.

How often do you hear a story like that?

If you would like to learn how Consultant Connect can reduce referrals in your area by connecting local GPs with local hospital consultants, please call 01865 261467 or email info@consultantconnect.org.uk for more information.

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