Consultant Link

GP Care’s Consultant Link®​ reduces referrals and emergency admissions by bridging the gap between GPs and local hospital consultants.

GP Care’s Consultant Link® is an innovative advice and guidance service that provides GPs with immediate and direct telephone access to local consultants, supporting the delivery of excellent patient care and promoting the primary/secondary care relationship.

Consultant Link® is an immediate access Telephone Advice & Guidance service that connects GPs with local specialist NHS consultants. The service is provided with a view to supporting GPs in looking after their patients in primary care wherever possible but allowing for a 'warm' onward referral for specialist care where appropriate.

The service is designed to provide advice & guidance to GPs on all specialty areas according to requirement and to link each GP practice with their preferred local team for each specialty. Each GP practice can determine where its calls should be routed so that the GPs are speaking to a local consultant who is best placed to provide care to a patient should a referral be necessary and appropriate.

Using a smart telecoms solution the service provides GPs with access to local teams of specialist consultants using 'hunt group' technology linked to consultants' mobile phones.

The consultation between the GP and the consultant is telephony based and paperless. A digital recording of the telephone conversation is then provided to the GP practice to attach to the patient’s record and is retained for medico-legal purposes.

This facilitates timely access to high quality advice and guidance, enabling many patients who would otherwise be referred or admitted to be managed by their GP in the community.

Participating GP practices are each provided with a unique 0300 telephone number to access this Service. These are not premium rate numbers and GP Care does not receive any element of telephone charges arising from these calls.

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Outcomes

Call outcomes since launching the service in September 2012 are that around 65% of calls result in avoidance of a referral or a more expensive admission to hospital. In addition to the reduction in unnecessary hospital visits for patients there is a clear saving for NHS commissioners as well as case-based training for GPs and a greater degree of communication and integration between GPs and hospital medics.

Since commencement of the service the average time to connect a GP to a consultant has been less than 1 minute and the average duration of a phone call has been around 3 minutes. This rapid response and the short duration of the calls means that GPs are able to secure advice whilst their patient is still with them,  enabling them to conclude a consultation there and then rather than having to arrange follow-on consultations once advice has been obtained.

Click on the Consultant Link Brochure to access a pdf brochure for the service.

GP feedback

GP feedback has been extremely positive not only about the specific advice received to support providing care to specific patients, but also with regard to the case-based learning that they can then apply in their clinics in the future and the significantly improved communication between GPs and Consultants - "it's great to talk to consultants again".

Commissioner feedback

Consultant Link® is fully operational and NHS Commissioners and hospitals in many areas of the country are at varying stages of implementation. Commissioners are extremely excited by the benefits delivered by GP Care’s Consultant Link®. Not only does the service support joined up care for the patient, it delivers cost efficiencies by significantly reducing referrals, outpatient appointments, consultant follow up and emergency admissions.

Technology

The technology platform is a specialist, bespoke solution that GP Care has designed and that has been built by an expert telecoms provider.

Further information

For more information on Consultant Link® then please download our Brochure or call our Consultant Link Helpdesk on 0845 625 2109 or 0333 332 2109.

GP Feedback

"Easy to use, within a minute or two the call was answered. Very helpful and consultants are always understanding about reason for call, and not at all dismissive, good explanations in addition that help understand the condition/management better. I find this service invaluable and wouldn't want it to stop."

"Clear instructions, prompt response, clear concise advice which was relevant and useful."

"I found the service easy to use and had access to a consultant very quickly. The advice was very helpful and saved an onward referral to cardiology for further advice. I feel we should have similar opportunities for advice in other specialities as this helps reduce referrals, provides quick advice and fosters good relationships between GPs and consultants."

"Very easy to use.  Very quick response - I don’t know how they manage it!  Very useful advice given"