Why it’s not too late to tackle winter pressures

Published: 12th October 2017

As headlines continue to warn that the NHS faces ‘the worst winter ever’ (for those new to our blog, see “Will this be the worst winter ever for the NHS”), you may be feeling that there are few additional options now left to help the situation. But it’s not too late to make a difference.

Consultant Connect’s telephone Advice & Guidance system has been independently proven to reduce unplanned admissions. It’s better for patients, who get the right care more quickly.

Consultant Connect can be implemented within a month and the impact is immediate – meaning it can make a difference this winter.


Launching Your Project Quickly

Proven Launch Plan – our experience in rolling out Consultant Connect and Urgent Connect in over 45 CCG areas to date, covering a patient population of over 12 million, means you can rely on us to get the project live in the minimum time possible.

Clinician Engagement Plan – with CCG and Trust agreement, we handle engagement with the GPs who will be making the calls and the clinical teams at the Trust who will be answering them. Our program of meetings and communications has successfully on-boarded 1,600 GP practices and over 1,200 consultants.

Comprehensive Information Governance Pack – covering all IG requirements to ensure a smooth implementation.


Evidence For The Approach

Benchmarking data of all our projects show:

  • More than 60% of calls to urgent care teams result in the patient avoiding A&E that day
  • 30% of calls to consultant-led teams result in the patient avoiding a trip to hospital altogether
  • Where Frailty/Care of the Elderly lines are added, 19% of calls result in the elderly patient avoiding an admission, with a further 48% of calls resulting in the patient not needing to attend a first outpatient appointment at hospital (#last1000days)

An independent audit of our urgent care project in Sunderland by NHS Elect proved that Consultant Connect avoids unplanned admissions. To quote the report:

‘Between October and December 2016, following the introduction of Consultant Connect, the hospital believes approximately 175 patients, at a conservative estimate, avoided admission. “This is an astonishing amount, given that this reduction occurred during winter”.’

You can download the benchmark data here: Specialty Benchmarking 1704 Apr 170606a


Long-Term Benefits

Right Care, First Time

Talking to a consultant or specialty nurse often allows the GP to decide a care plan for the patient immediately without them having to attend hospital. If a referral or admission is necessary, a call can ensure that the patient is sent to the right place, first time (often filling gaps in clinics, so expediting care).

Using clinical information to deliver insights

Among the by-products of a telephone Advice & Guidance system are recordings of the calls that have been made. Reviewing these recordings and acting upon the information they contain can have a massive benefit for all concerned.

Many insights can be revealed and these could be used to improve ways of working between primary and secondary care and untimely patient experience. For more information, please read our previous article.

Relationship building & Continued Learning

Consultants and GPs using the system also report that the service enables them to build better relationships between primary and secondary care. GPs also find their medical knowledge is extended which benefits their professional development and patient care.


Getting started

If you would like to discuss launching a Consultant Connect project in your area, please contact us on 01865 261467 or by email on info@www.consultantconnect.org.uk.

Contact us

For more information about how we work with commissioners, hospitals & mental health trusts to improve patient care, please get in touch.

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Company registered in England & Wales.
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