Calls are digitally recorded as MP3 files and sent to GPs for the patient record, and the consultant’s employing hospital for medico-legal purposes. The service is paperless and, since the calls are typically very short, consultants can respond within existing work schedules.
GPs select the clinical specialty they require and enter a patient NHS number which is then included in the MP3 file name to help practices attach the file to the correct patient record.
RCGP president Professor Mike Pringle presents the award
Telephone ‘hunt groups’ are managed on a daily basis for each hospital team to ensure that calls are routed appropriately. Each consultant has 15 seconds to answer a call before it transfers to the next consultant in the group.
In a cardiology pilot over 15 months, the average call connection time was 68 seconds with the average call lasting 3 minutes. More than 65% of calls did not lead to a hospital referral or admission.
GP chairman of GP Care Dr Phil Yates said: 'Clinically there has been quite a rift between primary and secondary care over the past 15 years, but this system brings GPs and consultants into contact over clinical issues.'
The service can be provided anywhere in the country, linking local consultants with local GPs at a cost of £30 per call to the commissioner.
'Whichever way you look at it, it's a massive saving on an outpatient visit and avoids all the delays caused by bureaucracy and the admin costs of obtaining that advice,' said Dr Yates.
THE JUDGES SAID:
This is a very innovative service, which every GP would want to have in their area. The almost instant access to a consultant is so impressive
The GP Enterprise Awards are organised by GP magazine and GPonline, in association with the RCGP and sponsored by the MDU. Each of the six category winners receives £1,000 and has the chance to become the overall winner in a vote by the profession - and win a further £4.000.
To vote for this practice as the overall winner of the GP Enterprise Awards 2014 - and be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad Mini - vote online now.