Advice and Guidance (A&G) is a scheme that connects GPs with hospital specialists via a secure electronic conversation, for advice on patients, without the need to refer a person for an appointment to outpatients.
The scheme was introduced as a pilot between the Trust and the Landscape GP surgery in Garstang in 2014 and is now available across Morecambe Bay. It has expanded since its launch to cover 19 health specialties.
In addition, the Radiology Team at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been shortlisted for the Health Service Journal Awards for their work with the Advice and Guidance scheme in the ‘Improving The Value Of Diagnostic Services’ category.
During January there were 509 ‘conversations’, between GPs and hospital specialists.
The system is having a positive impact on how patients are treated, in January 70% of these conversations resulted in a change in the patients planned treatment.
Many patients are now being treated in primary care which may previously have been a referral to the Trust following the advice given.
In Radiology, following a conversation, the GP is then able to directly refer a patient for diagnostic tests which may traditionally have required an Outpatient referral.
Response rates are also ahead of what is expected: There is a target of five days for hospital specialists to respond, and the vast majority were responded to within 1.14 days. This means patients are getting treatment more quickly and many do not need to travel to hospital.