‘Excellent’ patient care with TALK

GP talking on the phone

In 2012, the TALK telephone service was launched to support GPs in the care of frail older people in Lambeth and Southwark, and help prevent unnecessarily hospital attendances. The service has now been expanded to include TALK services for GPs seeking speciality paediatric and acute medicine advice. 

Dr Viral Patel, acute physician at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, explained how TALK recently helped a GP with the care of a patient: “I received a call from a GP to discuss a patient who was sitting in his surgery with a headache, vertigo and double vision. 

“The GP was going to send the patient to A&E, but after further discussion of the patient’s condition, and it was unlikely any investigations would be able to be carried out that evening, we arranged for the patient to be seen the next morning in a planned Medical Assessment Centre appointment at the hospital.” 

TALK gives GPs access to 24/7 consultant geriatrician or psycho-geriatrician expertise and aims to reduce the burden on urgent care services by finding alternative planned solutions. 

Dr Patel said: “The next day the Medical Assessment Centre reviewed the patient, and that day the patient was sent for an MRI scan on their head to rule out an acute stroke. The patient was then transferred back to the care of the GP with the appropriate treatment. 

“A hospital admission was avoided and the patient received excellent care.” 56% of calls to TALK resulted in a patient receiving a rapid access 'hot clinic' appointment

This is an example of how direct contact between different professionals and specialists at the right time can improve the care and outcomes for people in Southwark and Lambeth, and help keep people out of hospital when it’s not necessary.

The service was developed by the King’s Health Partners as part of Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care.

It has now been expanded to include TALK services for GPs seeking speciality paediatric and acute medicine advice.