Diabetes patients in Gloucestershire are now receiving expert clinical advice more quickly, thanks to a new advice and guidance service for GPs.


The service, which has come about from partnership working, means that GPs can now get a second opinion on a patient’s condition from a hospital specialist by sending a secure electronic advice request message.


This message may include scanned images, diagnostic results or relevant previous correspondence. The hospital doctor reads the GP’s electronic message, and responds within three days, including attachments such as proposed treatment plans or links to other resources where appropriate.


Dr Jeremy Welch, GP and Clinical Lead for Diabetes with NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:


“Being able to access expert advice from a consultant so quickly means that we can ensure patients are seen by the right clinician in the most appropriate setting.”


“It can be really helpful to double check specific information about the condition or referral options and getting this right first time means that patients don’t get redirected to another service when it’s not necessary. They can often be treated by doctors in their local GP surgery, avoiding the need for a hospital visit.”


Patients whose condition is more serious will still be referred to hospital, and this service means that hospitals can concentrate on treating such patients.


Advice and guidance services for GPs are already in place for people with skin conditions (dermatology) and kidney conditions (nephrology). It will also be introduced soon in other specialties, including blood conditions (haematology).