Having identified a receiver, the sender makes a referral request to that receiver.
There are different types of referral, including:
- advice and guidance - where the receiver gives advice to the sender without needing to speak directly to the patient
- referral with triage - where the receiver assesses the case prior to (or instead of) booking an appointment
- referral with immediate booking
In some cases, the referral results in a transfer of care from the sender to the receiver. In other cases, the sender 'sub-contracts' the receiver but retains overall responsibility for the case.
Before making the referral, optionally, the sender double-checks the receiver's capabilities to make sure they can provide the required service at the present time.
Then, the sender makes the referral request, including all the information that the receiver is likely to need. The information sent with the request depends on the specific use case.
Ideally, the receiver accepts the referral, but it might reject it for one reason or another.
In some cases the acceptance is implicit, for example when a patient self-refers to their GP, or a GP refers to a GP hub. In these cases, the whole journey tends to pivot more around the appointment booking - with the referral details being sent along with (or after) the booking.