Idea Description
Supplementary Information
Innovation 'Elevator Pitch':
Consultant Connect enables a GP to dial a single number to immediately reach an appropriate specialist. Immediate Advice and Guidance is better for patients, clinicians & NHS. It is currently used in Elective, Urgent & Mental Health care settings.
Overview of Innovation:
Consultant Connect is a simple CCG funded telecoms system that provides GPs with immediate access to telephone-based specialty mental health advice and guidance. By talking to a specialist, often whilst the patient is still in the surgery, the GP is better able to provide the right care first time to the patient, often avoiding an unnecessary referral or admission. The specialist is based within a nearby NHS Trust Hospital.

GP calls connect directly, via a standard rate number, to teams of local specialists via their mobile phones with each specialist getting c 20 seconds to answer a call before it automatically forwards on to the next specialist. By connecting to teams of specialists, rather than to individuals, the connection rates are high. The order in which specialists receive calls is based on a Rota of specialist availability that has been provided by the team. This rota can be either managed by us or by the team itself through an online portal. The team of specialists are based in the local NHS Trusts.

Once connected, calls are recorded as highly encrypted, information-governed digital files which provide a medico-legal record which is available to the relevant GP practice and specialist team. At the end of the call GPs are asked to stay on the line for a few seconds to rank the outcome – this gives the CCG a broad view as to the effectiveness of the system and their investment in it. Specialists are also asked to rank the outcome via text message as a back-up.

This service is in operation nationally across many specialties in physical and mental health.

In what instances should/can Consultant Connect be used?
The way in which this system is used is ultimately determined by the CCGs, Trust/Specialists and GP practices collectively, but it is generally accepted that calls will be made for patient-specific advice.

Within mental health we can connect GPs to the most appropriate mental health clinical professional (e.g. Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist) to discuss issues such as:
  • Whether a referral is needed
  • Medication management/prescribing questions
  • Access to crisis support
We offer our service to best meet local needs between service users, GPs and Mental Health Trusts.

We can tailor by service, specialty or pathway.
The speed of connection is such that the GP’s can (at their discretion) call whilst a patient is still with them.

Consultant Connect Service
Stage of Development:
Market ready and adopted - Fully proven, commercially deployable, market ready and already adopted in some areas (in a different region or sector)
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There should be ring fenced funding which is flexible as  a number of Specialists could be involved .This cutrs down terrible time wasting & delay that must  reduce the targets for treatment .Many Durgeries allow admin on remits to use wrong specialists hoodwinking by Choose & Book that suspect is moving our funding to balance the books . This is where Inspectorate should monitor & if class hospital OR Surgery unsafe should be given certain time to right orhewise need to be taken over .This is not happening in UK  as suspect should be legally when safety is concerned.

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