The Welsh government has pledged £650,000 to allow GPs, paramedics and other healthcare professionals to access immediate specialist advice through an app.

The Consultant Connect app has been fast-tracked across NHS Wales to help mitigate the Covid-19 outbreak, as well as supporting primary care in the long term to offer better advice and guidance.

It’s hoped use of the app will prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and referrals while ensuring those needing hospital treatment are provided correct advice.

The core service gives clinicians access to specialists in respiratory medicine, cardiology, diabetes, palliative care and acute medicine for Covid-19.

Health Boards can also add access to a range of local advice that is appropriate to their patients’ needs.

Clinicians can access the service by dialling in or using the Consultant Connect app. After choosing a specialty from a menu they are connected with a specialist.

Welsh health minister, Vaughan Gething, said: “I am very pleased we are able to start rolling out the Consultant Connect in NHS Wales. This will help to support primary care to determine the right treatment for their patients.

“Right now it will save crucial time for health care professionals and reduce the amount of hospital visits needed by patients, at a time when our NHS is facing extra pressure.

“In the long-term the use of this technology is an important part of our plan for the future of health and social care, A Healthier Wales. Making the most of technology is vital to us building a modern health and social care service, in which care is delivered closer to home.”

NHS Wales has taken a number of steps in using technology during the Covid-19 outbreak. In April NHS Wales Informatics Service launched a data hub that tracks patients across all health systems.

The hub allows healthcare leaders to interpret visual data from all health boards and trust to help them better manage capacity and demand for care for patients diagnosed with coronavirus.

An IT system for the testing of Covid-19 patients was also deployed by the service in April, allowing test results of patients to be stored digitally on the Welsh Clinical Portal and added to a central data base.