What will happen when my GP refers me?
If your GP decides that you need referring for treatment, they will discuss the treatment options available to you and the different service providers that you may wish to consider. A referral letter will then be completed by the practice and sent electronically through the NHS electronic referral system (e-RS).
What will happen to my referral then?
For certain conditions, your referral will be sent through a secure NHS system for an expert clinical opinion, known as clinical triage. For all other conditions, your referral will be sent directly to the booking stage.
What does clinical triage involve?
Clinical triage is a detailed assessment of your referral carried out by a specialist clinician. This determines which type of service is most appropriate for you based on the information your GP has included in your referral.
This may be:
• Continuing care with your GP, if the assessing clinician can recommend a course of treatment which your GP may not have tried.
• A service provided by clinicians with more specialist knowledge/training.
• A hospital-based service provided by a consultant and their team.
It is recognised that a great deal of care can be managed outside of hospital and there are an increasing number of services which are provided to patients within the community. These are often more accessible to patients and in some cases avoid patients making unnecessary visits to a hospital outpatient clinic.
Clinical triage ensures that your treatment will take place in the most appropriate setting, whether that is in the community or at hospital.
If the clinical triage decision is that you require a hospital based service your referral will continue through the e-RS process to the booking stage.
What happens when my referral reaches the booking stage?
Once your referral reaches the booking stage you will be sent an appointment letter in the post. This will either confirm the appointment that has been made for you or the letter will contain instructions on how to proceed with booking your own appointment with your chosen provider.
If you need assistance in booking your appointment or choosing your hospital please discuss with a member of staff from your GP practice.
How can I change my appointment?
Most appointments can be changed via the central NHS e-RS booking line or via the internet. Details on how to change your appointment will be included on the appointment letter you will receive.
In some cases this may not be possible e.g. due to the urgency of your appointment, and you may have to contact the hospital directly or speak to your GP practice for further advice.
What do I do now?
Please ensure that your GP practice has the correct contact details for you including your address, home and mobile telephone number, as these will be included in your referral.
If you have not heard from anyone within 2 weeks, please contact your GP practice.
Click here to view the Referral Support Service patient information leaflet - How will your referral be managed