There is increasing use of hotline services in providing specialist advice to general practitioners, yet little published data on the outcome of their use. A General Paediatric department in a tertiary centre has been operating a hotline service for one year to allow access to direct advice and thus bridges the gap between primary, secondary and tertiary teams. The Hotline is accessible from 1100 to 1300, Monday to Friday and manned by a designated General Paediatric consultant.
Service Audit Aims
Quantify the use of the hotline
Identify how patient outcome has changed subsequent to hotline use
Identify the impact on referrals to the trust
Assess the coverage of General Practices reached
Identify the category of clinical problems discussed
Assess user satisfaction with service
Method A predesigned pro forma is filled at point of call to collate data on time, date and outcome of call, GP practice, category of problem and likely actions if hotline not available. This was analysed and collated using percentage and graphical analysis to present outlined aims.
Results This service audit collected a population n = 328 during the period of 01/05/2014–31/03/2015. 86 GP practices in total accessed the hotline service with increasing contacts per month: n = 20 in month 1, n = 51 in month 11. In 47% of cases the issue was resolved by providing advice only with the remainder being referred to ambulatory care, outpatient clinic, Emergency department (ED) or an alternative specialist. There was a reduction in referrals to ED (11%), ambulatory care (12%) and outpatient department (11%) with the use of GP hotline. Feeding (n = 38) and gastroenterology (n = 58) were the most common category of problem discussed.
Conclusion The service has proven to be effective with a diverse range of clinical problems discussed. There has been increasing uptake to the service with positive feedback and a reduction in the reported rate of referral secondary to the use of the GP hotline.
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