Making best use of technology to care for more people at home

Avoiding unnecessary visits to hospital this winter – Consultant Connect

Patients in Doncaster could be spared an avoidable visit to hospital this winter thanks to GPs using an expanded immediate phone advice and guidance service, delivered by Consultant Connect.

By having immediate and direct access to specialist advice, GPs can ensure that patients get the right care first time. This quite often means that patients avoid unnecessary trips to hospital, the NHS saves money and hospital consultants spend their time dealing with patients that they need to see.

NHS Doncaster CCG introduced the service in Summer 2017 and since then it has been progressively rolled out across more and more specialities at Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI).

Dr Teanby-Clark, at GP at Askern’s Lakeside Practice said: ”Consultant Connect helps us to make a good judgement on whether or not to refer a patient to hospital.

“Nobody wants to be referred to hospital only for the consultant to say that their GP is the best person to manage their care. If the best course of action can be determined through a quick phone call it’s far more efficient for the NHS and more convenient for the patient.”

In January 2018, the project covered 43 practices and 7 specialties and calls were being answered by consultants within 1 minute. Now the service covers 13 specialities at DRI and the average time it takes for a consultant to answer GPs calls is 35 seconds. The immediacy of this conversation means GPs get advice whilst the patient is still in the room.

Consultants at DRI have taken 1,200 calls since the service was launched and 54% of calls have resulted in a patient referral to hospital being avoided and care being provided in the local community.

Benefits to patients

Dr Teanby-Clark adds: “I recently contacted one of the chest physicians at Doncaster Royal Infirmary about a patient who is in her 90s and has breathing problems. The fast response I was given on how to manage her symptoms meant I was able to continue looking after her at home, rather than sending her to hospital.”

Jonathan Patrick, Chief Executive at Consultant Connect, said: “We’ve seen the hugely positive impact our service can have for patients, GPs and consultants across the country and we are delighted to see this working in the Doncaster area.

“It is great to see local consultants and GPs working together to provide the best possible care for patients from their first appointment onwards.”

Dr David Crichton, Chair, Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group said: “I am pleased with the progress we have made in Doncaster to ensure that GPs are making best use of this innovative service.

“Over the coming 12 months, we will continue to work with GPs to maximise the use of Consultant Connect, ensuring patients remain at the heart of the service.

“As a GP in Bentley, I would encourage all GPs to make best use of the service and consider using this important tool whenever you need advice from a consultant.”




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