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Pioneering London trusts say good-bye to paper referrals

14th May 2018

Guy’s and St Thomas’, Homerton University Hospital, North Middlesex University Hospital, and Whittington Hospital are leading London’s way towards electronic-only referrals and a future of shorter waiting times, better value referrals and greater patient choice.

Four NHS trusts in London have now achieved paper switch off. They are no longer accepting paper-based referrals for consultant-led first outpatient appointments. Instead, these trusts are taking referrals via the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) which cuts waiting times, reduces inappropriate referrals, saves money, and gives patients greater choice.

Healthy London Partnership is supporting NHS Digital to implement NHS e-referrals for London. Guy’s and St Thomas’, Homerton University Hospital, North Middlesex University Hospital, and Whittington Hospital have each shown fantastic dedication to becoming the capital’s e-RS pioneers. They now lead the way ahead of a busy six months when all trusts will become fully electronic for referrals.

Al Grenfell, Head of the NHS Digital London Implementation Team, says: “This is a fantastic achievement by the first four organisations and we look forward to supporting the remaining organisations to achieve the same before the 1st of October.”

Paperless referrals

The NHS Standard Contract for 2017/19 requires the full use of e-RS for all consultant-led first outpatient referrals. From 1 October 2018, providers will no longer be paid for activity from referrals not made through e-RS. Across the NHS, local organisations are working collaboratively to ensure this is achieved. Visit NHS Digital’s website to find out more about the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS)

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Notes to editors

Learn more about the benefits of the service: https://digital.nhs.uk/services/nhs-e-referral-service#section-3

• Reduces waiting times: Referrers can identify services with the shortest waiting times on the system, thereby referring patients to a service that they’ll not have to wait too long to receive

• Inappropriate referrals: Consultants receive fewer inappropriate referrals because clinics are carefully defined and referrers can seek advice prior to referral if there is any doubt about which clinic to refer to.

• Saves money: The savings are estimated at over £50m per year for the health service. Savings arise due to reduced processing costs, fewer missed appointments, all available appointments being booked, and patients rebooking their own appointments (instead of trusts).

• Patient choice: Patients are given a choice of date/time for their appointment, and also have greater choice over the provider of their care

 

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