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Welcome to this weeks Planned Care information page. Every two weeks we will be bringing you up to date information

This week’s newsletter focuses on a new and exciting Advice and Guidance telephone service - Consultant Connect. There is also important information about making antenatal referrals to Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) in the e-RS Section please have a read. This edition also includes an update on the next tranch of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) services  to go e-RS only and when this will start and the message from King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCH)  e-RS.  Other News includes training opportunities.

The link to this page can be found every week in the GP Bulletin. To read pervious bulletins, please click here.

We always welcome feedback – please let us know if you have any ideas or suggestions for the newsletter or on the content.

Spotlight on: Consultant Connect

What is Consultant Connect?

As you may be aware, since January 2017 Lambeth CCG has been working with Southwark and Bromley CCGs, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCH) and GSTT to support primary care to optimise the value of referrals. As part of this work, we are launching a one year pilot of a new Advice and Guidance (A&G) service called Consultant Connect.


Consultant Connect is a telephone solution that allows GPs to contact local hospital specialty consultants (i.e. KCH and GSTT) directly and immediately for A&G. The GP dials a standard rate number and the call is answered by a local specialty consultant typically in under a minute.


Consultant Connect is currently in operation in 40 areas in the UK, covering more than 12 million patients and over 1,600 GP practices.

How does it work?

Each GP practice will have a unique local telephone number through which they can directly access advice from  specialty teams at GSTT and KCH. The GP dials the number, selects the specialty and inputs the patient’s NHS Number (for medico-legal purposes only).


The call is put through to a “rota” of KCH and GSTT specialty consultants, who are available to answer calls during that clinical session. Each consultant is given approximately 20 seconds to answer a call; if they are not in a position to take a call then it automatically loops to the next consultant and so on until the call is answered.


In the unlikely event that the call does not connect, the caller will be advised to call back later or revert to pre-existing means of securing advice which continue to be available (e.g. e-RS).


Before the call ends, the GP is asked record the outcome of the call, selecting one of five options (e.g. referral avoided, referral necessary).


All conversations via Consultant Connect are digitally recorded for future reference and for medico-legal purposes. This means it is a paperless exercise for the GP and the consultant

What are the benefits?

Consultant Connect has a number of benefits:

 For the patient:

  • Faster access to specialist A&G
  • Only attend hospital if it's necessary 

For the GP:

  • Quick and easy access to specialist A&G
  • GPs can have a conversation on the phone with the specialist rather than having to communicate via email or e-RS
  • Enables GPs to deliver the right care for their patients first time
  • Paper free A&G

For the hospital:

  • Reduced number of unnecessary referrals, enabling patients who do need to attend hospital to be seen quicker.
  • Paper free A&G

Which specialties are covered?

Initially, it is anticipated that the following specialties will be available for A&G on Consultant Connect:

  • Gynaecology
  • Haematology
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiology
  • Neurology
  • Dermatology (tele-dermatology trial)

A further three specialties will become available on Consultant Connect in the coming months. 

We will be seeking regular feedback from GPs throughout the trial to ensure that Consultant Connect covers the most suitable services.

What happens next?

Consultant Connect is due to launch in Lambeth, Southwark and Bromley in October 2017. Prior to the launch, the Consultant Connect team will be making direct contact with practices to explain how the service works and provide the local Dial-In telephone numbers through which GPs will be able to access the system.

Further information

If you would like to find out more about  Consultant Connect, please visit their website.

If you would like to discuss further please contact the

GSTT services on e-RS

e-Referral Service (e-RS) and paper switch-off - a successful start

On 1 September the following services at GSTT went paper-free and are now only bookable via e-RS:

•           Diabetes

•           Dermatology

•           Gynaecology

•           Ophthalmology

•           Neurology

•           Cancer 2 week wait

•           Antenatal (Assessment Service)

•           MCATTS (Lambeth).

GSTT have said the response from GPs has generally been very positive and GSTT have seen an increase in referrals for the above areas via e-RS. 

Tranche two – paper switch-off

As we move towards receiving 100% of our GP referrals via e-RS, from 1 December a second tranche of services will accept referrals via e-RS only:

·         Endocrinology

·         Allergy (adults and paediatrics)

·         Rheumatology

·         Breast (non 2 week wait)

·         Haematology

·         Nephrology.

Over the next two months we will be promoting the use of e-RS  for these services. From 1 December we will no longer accept GP referrals by email or paper for the above.

We welcome your feedback on our Directory of Services for the above areas.  Please contact Arti Trivedi (e-RS Manager) for issues related to e-RS only. 

2 week wait referrals via e-RS

In line with the Pan London Cancer Referral guidance,  GPs and referrers should ensure that:

The patient is aware that the referral is urgent and why it is urgent. It is also important that the patient is available to attend. If a patient is not available the referral must be deferred until the patient can attend.

·         The patient has been given a hard copy of the specific 2ww referral patient leaflet which is embedded in each 2ww referral form. This is specific to the 2ww clinic type and explains what the patient should expect at the appointment (e.g. the likely investigations, how much time it will take, etc).

·         Contact details for the patient are correct including telephone numbers  -  pro-formas need to be attached within 24 hours of the referral being made. 

·         The appointment on e-RS is made and agreed with the patient before they leave the practice.

·         An appointment is not booked without the patient's agreement as this leads to DNAs and rescheduled appointments.

·         Should the patient wish to book their own appointment (this is not recommended), please explain to the patient how to make the appointment using web or national telephone appointment line (TAL). If the patient is making the appointment, the practice will need to monitor that the appointment has been made and contact the patient if this has not been done.

Referrals to gynaecology service

On  1 September, GSTT gynaecology service went paper-free and now only accepts GP referrals via the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS – formerly Choose and Book).

When referring a patient to gynaecology, if the scan has not been taken at Guy's and St Thomas’, please ensure that the scan report is attached on e-RS or a copy is given to the patient to bring at the appointment.

Failure to attach scans leads to delays, duplication of scans and repeat visits for many patients. 

GSTT Antenatal Services

A number of GPs have had difficulty finding the GSTT antenatal service on e-RS. Please see below for details on how to access the service:

 How can you find the service?

The service is mapped as outlined below:

  • Specialty name: Obstetrics
  • Clinic Type: Antenatal
  • Service name: Antenatal Assessment Service (patient not to attend)

What do you need to do?

When referring the patient, please ensure that you advise the patient you will be booking them a dummy appointment which they must NOT attend (there are instructions to this effect in the Referrer Alerts and Instructions to patients).

Once the referral form has been attached to the dummy appointment, it will be available for GSTT to process. GSTT will triage the referral and will contact the patient to book them their appointments(s).

Please ensure that the referral form is attached within 24 hours to avoid any delay. 

Advice and Guidance:

Please note that the A&G facility within e-RS is available for GPs to use. 

Attaching the referral letter

Please remember to attach the referral letter when making a referral via e-RS. GSTT and KCH do not have access to the referral unless the referral letter is attached. 

Any GP referrals sent via email to these specialties will be returned and the practice will be requested to make a re-referral via e-RS.

KCH services on e-RS

KCH is not currently implementing a phased closure to referrals via other routes, but will be later in the year- we will keep you updated on how this progresses. However, the following specialties at KCH should be fully available for booking on e-RS:

  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Paediatrics
  • Rheumatology
  • Trauma and Orthopaedics
  • Urology

A large number of other specialties for KCH are available on e-RS and GP practices should make referrals to KCH via e-RS wherever possible.


It is not possible to access e-RS without a smartcard and all GPs and administrative staff should be issued with a smartcard. If you need to order a smartcard or have any smartcard queries please contact the Registration Authorities (RA) team who can deal with your request/query:

Locums and smartcards:

All locums should be issued with a smartcard. If a locum does not have a smartcard, they can request one from the local RA team. Once a locum has been issued with a card, it can be used across all practices. When it is known that a locum will be working for a practice, the practice team can contact the RA team and ask for the locum to be given full access for that practice for the period time that they will be employed. More information is available here.

Key Contacts:

 Also contact the Lambeth GP IT Facilitation Knowledge-base for more information and updates from the IT Facilitator

Other News:

Have you completed the Cancer Care Review survey?

Your practice should have received an email from the Transforming Cancer  Services Team (TCST)  about Cancer Care Reviews.  The survey closes at 9am Monday 16th October. The survey is designed to identify the qualitative aspects of the Cancer Care Reviews that make it an effective intervention. Cancer Care Reviews are focused on facilitating GPs to support the long term quality of life of people with cancer and to ensure that primary care professionals are receiving the appropriate information about their patients, at the right time, so that they can manage consequences of cancer and its treatment.

Epley Manoeuvre for BPPV – free training for Lambeth GPs and nurses

We are looking to provide free Epley manoeuvre training for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)*. This will be led by Louisa Murdin, , Consultant in Vestibular & Balance Disorders at GSTT. The Epley manoeuvre involves performing four separate head movements to move the fragments that cause vertigo to a place where they no longer cause symptoms, significantly improving the patient’s quality of life  Places are limited, with training planned for early November. If you are keen to learn more then please register your interest by emailing  



Dizziness Training Course

Dizziness is a common symptom in patients presenting to the emergency department, stroke unit, and general practice. The diagnosis and management of such patients can be challenging, but can also be achieved with appropriate clinical skills. This 1 day interactive workshop will support healthcare professionals to effectively diagnose and manage dizziness across a range of clinical settings.   . This course will be led by Professor Adolfo M Bronstein and Dr Diego Kaski, international renowned experts in Dizziness and Balance.

Registration – £250        CPD points – 6   



Have you used the peer review patient information sheet?

A patient focused information sheet has been produced to aid your explanation of GP lead peer review. This has been designed by local GPs and patient and can be printed off DXS and given to your patients to help explain this process.


Cancer Cascade Workshop Free training

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) would like to invite you to participate in the upcoming Cascade workshop in London Victoria on Wednesday 13th December 2017.  The Cascade initiative aims to support and empower cancer champions working in primary care to drive improvements in cancer control.  Please click here to register for your free ticket.  For more information please visit or contact