South East London Integrated Care System began talks with Consultant Connect in May 2022 to help primary care teams with access to specialist advice amidst the monkeypox outbreak. Just 24 hours later, the Monkeypox advice line was launched so primary care clinicians could contact specialists for immediate advice for a suspected case of monkeypox, while the patient was with the GP in an appointment.
David Reith, Director of Commissioning Strategy at South East London ICS, said: “The hotline was set up following calls from a south east London trust, and it was critical to improving communication between GPs and the hospital, and improving patient outcomes. The hotline has meant we can connect different parts of the NHS at the touch of a button.”
This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the reliability of the line is shown in the average time of 30 seconds it takes for a specialist to answer a call.
The Monkeypox Advice and Guidance line is answered by a rota of infectious disease specialists and HIV consultants and allows GPs to send secure clinical photos to provide context to their queries.
Four months on from the launch of the line, 240 calls have been made; 46% of calls stopped an unnecessary referral; another 46% have resulted in a referral being made, meaning those who need to be seen get the right care the first time.
Nick Smith, Consultant Connect Account Manager, said: “As we already had existing sexual health services available to clinicians via the Consultant Connect service, it was very easy to re-allocate existing resources for a monkeypox service. This allowed a smooth and slick rollout within 24 hours of the request being made.”
It is important to note that lower numbers of infections are attributed to the rollout of the monkeypox vaccine, and so 240 calls in four months to this line is proportionate to monkeypox statistics in the UK.
If you would like to find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org or
call on 01865 261 467.