Find what you were looking for? Share your thoughts with a short survey

Increased physical health support in mental health wards

Consultant Connect, an initiative that was originally designed to support GPs connect to rapid treatment advice via phone, can now be used by clinicians working in mental health settings, and is provided by all King’s Health Partners NHS Foundation Trusts.

Nearly half of all people with diagnosed mental illness also have at least one, and often more, long-term physical conditions.

The King’s Health Partners Mind & Body project Integrating our Mental and Physical Healthcare Systems (IMPHS) is responsible for the roll-out of physical health services via Consultant Connect at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. IMPHS has collaborated with key teams across King’s Health Partners to increase physical health support and specialities available via Consultant Connect. Now inpatient clinicians working at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust can speak to experts from more than 80 specialities for advice, increasing patient support in physical health matters and improving patient outcomes at the touch of a button.

Consultant Connect at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

 Mental health clinicians at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust can now contact specialist physicians at both Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts via an app on a phone or tablet.

The service enables clinicians to call or interact with our local specialists for help with clinical queries, without having to make referrals. There is also the added benefit of bypassing hospital switchboards, connecting clinicians to specialists within minutes.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust inpatient clinicians and home treatment teams have accessed Consultant Connect for help with their physical health queries since June 2020.

As of March 2021, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust consultants added their Consultant Connect advice lines to South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s existing directory, providing clinicians with increased access to advice on physical health and a higher number of specialists. There are now more than 80 adult specialisms on offer to South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust clinicians.

How Consultant Connect improves patient outcomes

Since launch, Consultant Connect at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has seen:

  • 63% of calls resulting in South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust patients receiving physical healthcare by the mental health Trust’s clinicians, meaning referrals to acute trusts and acute admissions avoided, translating into more appropriate, holistic patient care.
  • More than 450 calls placed.
  • 34 specialist services contacted.
  • 178 South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust clinicians registered.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust have also set up some of their own services on the Consultant Connect lines, including range of specialisms covering psychiatry advice for older adults, working age adults, adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism and a medication advice. In February 2021, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust established an internal COVID-19 Vaccine Advice Line for its staff, to provide help and support with questions and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines. It generated the highest number of calls per specialism that month.

Who can use Consultant Connect?

Any clinician at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust can download the free Consultant Connect app to their personal phone. The app is available for android and iPhone users using their South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust email. The service is fully compliant with information governance.

How does Consultant Connect work?

 The diagram below helps demonstrate the user journey:

Consultant connect 

 Source: Consultant Connect website

If you experience any issues connecting to a physical health specialist, please email the team at IMPHS@slam.nhs.uk. 

Liked this article? Read how IMPARTS empowers patients and clinicians.