Trial sees one in three women’s cases handled by GP after online assessment
Women seeking medical help as they undergo the menopause received faster and better care in trials using remote consultants.
Two pilot schemes in Essex used specialists from telemedicine provider Consultant Connect’s National Consultant Network to validate and prioritise gynaecology and menopause referral waiting lists.
The remote consultants ensured urgent cases at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust and Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust were prioritised and dealt with more quickly.
And GPs were given advice on how to deal with the less-serious cases that were returned to them.
The small trial found one in three menopause cases were sent back to GPs with advice and guidance, a move that reduced pressure on gynaecologists and enabled them to provide care for those most in need.
In Basildon and Thurrock, the project focused on general gynaecology rather than specifically the menopause.
Remote consultants successfully identified one in 20 cases that should have been urgent or two-week wait referrals and these were subsequently fast-tracked.
Nearly one in 10 of all cases triaged were referred back to the GP with advice and guidance.
The pilot comes as gynaecology waiting lists shot up by 60% during the pandemic, with England’s gynaecology waiting list - including women with menopausal symptoms - standing at over 450,000 in January of this year.
Jonathan Patrick, chief executive of Consultant Connect, said: “We’re delighted that our network of specialists is helping to provide part of the solution to tackling the backlog.
“Further work is required to build a comprehensive set of data, but initial outcomes are very positive.
“In one trust, one in 20 patients were moved to a two-week wait pathway following the assessment of one of our online specialists.
“Without our service, someone who needed urgent care might not have been seen within the necessary timeframe.”