Providing vital physical health support at SLaM

We shine a spotlight on the vital improvements Consultant Connect has made to the physical healthcare of people with serious mental illness since launching at SLaM two years ago.

Consultant connect phoneIn 2019, King’s Health Partners (KHP) Mind & Body Programme received funding from Maudsley Charity to deliver the Integrating our Mental and Physical Healthcare Systems (IMPHS) project at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). The project focusses on improving the physical healthcare of people with serious mental illness through research, service development, and education and training. It was found that colleagues in mental health inpatients services at SLaM felt they were spending too much time trying to get into contact with colleagues in partner organisations to obtain physical health advice for their patients and service users.

In response, Consultant Connect was introduced in 2020 to help streamline communications by connecting mental health clinicians with specialist physicians at Guy’s and St Thomas’ (GSTT), King’s College Hospital (KCH) NHS Foundation Trusts and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, who can provide advice on managing physical health conditions across SLaM in community and inpatient mental health services. Consultant Connect provides SLaM with a telephone and messaging app where they can access more than 80 different specialisms. Access to the service was expanded from inpatient services to the whole Trust in July 2021.

Highlights from the last two years

SLaM’s use of Consultant Connect is the first time in the UK the platform has been used to connect secondary care mental health services with secondary care acute services. Here are some of the highlights since Consultant Connect was introduced in 2020:

  • More than 70% of calls answered result in a mental health patient receiving physical healthcare from mental health clinicians.
  • More than 700 service users have had calls placed about their care and treatment.
  • 65 different specialisms have been contacted for advice and guidance

(cardiology, diabetes and endocrinology, haematology, neurology and gastroenterology are the most frequently called).

  • Over 450 SLaM employees have downloaded and registered the app.
  • More than 60 queries for Dermatology have been raised and answered using the app’s photo and messaging feature.

The successful implementation of this innovative service was recognised recently in the Health Science Journal Partnership Awards 2022 as a finalist under the ‘Best Mental Health Partnership’ category. Ms Harriet Harman MP has nominated the project in the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2022 - The Future NHS Award category (shortlisted finalists to be announced on 13 June 2022). The project was also shared at the annual 4th UK Implementation Science Conference and won the ‘Runner-Up’ prize for ‘Best Presentation’. Later this month, Dr Isabel McMullen will present a poster at the RCPsych International Congress 2022 in the Service Evaluation category.

Consultant Connect now provides more than just physical health advice and guidance too – it can be used to: 

  • Earn accredited CPD points by leaving an outcome at the end of a call (includes a downloadable certificate).
  • Contact GP surgeries in south east London by using their telephone by-pass codes (available on the App).

Guidance and feedback opportunities for clinicians at SLaM

If you haven’t registered/used Consultant Connect yet, follow these quick and easy steps to get started immediately:

  1. Search for and download ‘Consultant Connect’ from your app-store to your personal mobile device;
  2. Register with your SLaM email; and
  3. Make a call, leave an outcome

The IMPHS team is collecting feedback from SLaM colleagues who have used Consultant Connect, to improve existing and future developments of the Consultant Connect App. We would greatly appreciate it if you would complete our five minute survey. The closing deadline for survey responses is Thursday 30 June. Clinicians who respond to the survey will be automatically entered into a prize-draw for a chance to win £50.

Alternatively, if you would like to provide a short comment as feedback, please email You can access our full evaluation protocol here.