Local GPs are using a new service called Consultant Connect to diagnose patients online and in reduce waiting lists at the hospital.
One of the virtual services is Tele-dermatology, and this has already proved hugely successful at reducing waiting-lists for consultations and two-week wait skin cancer referrals, says the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System (ICS).
Rather than a patient being referred to the hospital to see a dermatologist, GPs are now able to securely forward photos from patients, direct to the consultants for advice and guidance,
GPs are also able to take photos with the secure Consultant Connect App and share them with a consultant to seek advice on the next best step forward.
Figures have shown that between July 2021 and September 2021, 70% of cases where advice was sought have resulted in the case being managed by primary care.
The BLMK ICS has been chosen as one of 13 areas nationally to receive a share of £160m to come up with innovative ways to increase the number of planned operations they deliver.
They partnered with Consultant Connect’s National Consultant Network (NCN) to increase the availability of NHS consultants to help to reduce patient waiting lists across a number of specialties.
The NCN network draws on the expertise of NHS consultants across 50 trusts nationally to deliver on advice and guidance (A&G) requests, support GPs and reduce backlogs in waiting-lists. This releases local consultants’ time to see the patients they need to help.
As a result of the NCN’s support, GPs can access responsive and specialist advice, allowing local consultants who were previously answering advice and guidance calls to focus on patients needing elective care.
The NCN are now answering 74% of all elective A&G requests across BLMK.
Tele-dermatology is one example of how NCN specialist A&G can help to reduce patient waiting lists and help patients get the care that they need, whilst avoiding unnecessary hospital referrals.
Dr. Saleh Ahmed, GP and Clinical Lead, said: “Consultant Connect is a fantastic service, which is helping to reduce patient waiting lists. The service allows medical professionals from different healthcare settings to discuss a patient’s care and make a joint decision, while avoiding unnecessary A&E attendances and hospital referrals.”