IMPROVING ACCESS TO ADVICE & GUIDANCE
The CCG and DBTH are putting in place a new and very simple telecoms system called Consultant Connect, which enables local GPs to connect with local hospital specialists (predominantly consultants) to obtain advice and guidance. Calls will connect via consultant mobile phones or to direct dial landlines thereby avoiding use of switchboards. We anticipate that this service will generally operate from 9.00am-5.00pm, Monday-Friday.
How does the service work?
GP practices will each have a single local telephone number through which they can directly access advice from all specialty teams that the Hospital/CCG agree to include. The GP dials the number, selects the specialty and inputs the patient’s NHS Number (for medico-legal purposes only). The call then connects with the relevant team of specialists. Each specialist is given c 20 seconds to answer a call; if they are not in a position to take the call then it automatically loops to the next specialist and so on until the call is answered.
The immediacy of the system and the short average duration of phone calls is such that GPs can, at their option, access the advice whilst the patient is still with them. Conversations are digitally recorded for medico-legal purposes and this is therefore a paperless exercise for consultants.
This improved access to advice not only benefits patients in terms of speed of diagnosis and treatment, it also aims to create a more efficient system via a reduction in both follow-on appointments in primary care and unnecessary visits to hospital outpatient departments.
Please note that:
• This is not a 100% solution – nationally call connection rates average at 70-80% (depending on the specialty) as sometimes all specialists will just be busy or unavailable. Where GP calls initially go unanswered the advice is that they call back later or revert to pre-existing means of securing advice which continue to be available;
• This is a new initiative and some specialist teams can take a little time getting used to this different way of working so we do ask for your patience please.
Specialities now provided are:
- Chronic Pain
- Elderly Care
- Respiratory Medicine
- Acute Care
In the meantime, further information can be found in this Consultant Connect – Overview and FAQs and if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact Karen Leivers (k.leivers.net) or Emma Serfozo (email@example.com)