Health trust covering Milton Keynes earns award for improving patient care

Advice service has helped reduce waiting times and ease pressure on busy hospital staff

By Olga Norford
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 3:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th January 2022, 10:37 am

Bedford, Luton, and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Systems (ICS), including Milton Keynes University Hospital Trust, and Bedford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been recognised for helping reduce waiting lists and improving patient care.

The ICS has been named as one of the winners for outstanding Advice & Guidance in the second annual Consultant Connect Awards which also take into account continued expansion of its Advice & Guidance services for elective, urgent, and mental health care.

Consultant Connect Advice & Guidance services allow GPs and other medical professionals to rapidly contact consultants who can provide immediate specialist advice - helping to avoid unnecessary hospital visits for patients and relieve waiting list pressures in hospitals.

The award recognises support for healthcare professionals which help to reduce waiting times and ease pressure on busy hospital staff

The ICS is using the service to improve the referral and discharge processes for patients. This has included putting in place patient discharge lines, meaning clinicians are able to contact senior decision makers more easily to help minimise the time patients spend in hospital unnecessarily.

The ICS is also using out-of-area NHS Consultants from the National Consultant Network (NCN) to provide a data compliant photo messaging (Teledermatology) service to GPs. This has succeeded in reducing waiting lists for consultations and two-week wait skin cancer referrals, with 71% of Teledermatology cases resulting in a referral being avoided.

The ICS has also used Consultant Connect’s National Consultant Network (NCN) to support local secondary care teams answering Advice & Guidance calls from GPs. Between July 2021 and September 2021, more than two in three (70%) of Advice & Guidance cases referred to the NCN resulted in patients being treated in primary care instead of an unnecessary hospital visit. – helping to reduce waiting times and ease pressure on busy hospital staff.

Scott Welpton, director at Consultant Connect, said: “Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System (BLMK ICS) is a forward-thinking ICS that seeks innovative ways to improve patient care. The timely support provided by the National Consultant Network (NCN) during 2021 has proven invaluable, even more so during a time of recovery and restoration, making sure patients are seen at the right place by the right clinicians at the right time.”

The Consultant Connect Awards recognise the achievements of NHS Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), and Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) in providing outstanding advice and guidance for medical professionals helping to reduce waiting lists and improve patient care.

Judging for the awards was done through scoring projects according to the number of advice and guidance requests they received in the last 12 months per capita, the breadth of their service offering and their call / message answer rates - all winners receive a donation to their hospital charities.