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The NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) is used to make around 40,000 referrals daily. A full record of these is available in the application, with a wealth of information that can be used when making commissioning decisions and managing referrals.

Find out icon how e-RS can support clinical commissioning. [121.73KB]


When fully implemented, the e-RS will deliver a better patient and professional experience, along with efficiency and financial benefits to referrer and provider organisations.

Find out more about the  icon benefits of e-RS. [186.57KB]

Using the e-RS to support effective clinical commissioning

Analysis of referral patterns using e-RS data can help provide reliable information to support responsive commissioning. Information and data can be accessed from icon reports and extracts [416.04KB]  and the  icon Directory of Services. [252.03KB]

More information is available in the following resources:

icon Commissioning in the NHS e-Referral Service. [1.23MB]

icon Best practice guidelines. [243.99KB]

icon Best practice guidelines for commissioners. [179.71KB]

icon Information security and patient information. [172.02KB]

icon Independent sector provider guidance. [145.41KB]

icon Moving to direct booking. [126.77KB]

Delivering Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention

Find out icon how e-RS helps to promote Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) [100.07KB]  within the NHS.

Outpatient Pathway Modelling Tool

The icon Outpatient Pathway Modelling Tool (OPMT) [332.19KB]  compares a service provider's current referral management processes with a best practice process model and identifies where savings in time and costs can be made.

To get started, icon read the user guide [6.33MB]  and then launch the tool.

Maturity Model

If you've already implemented e-RS, our icon Maturity Model [529.79KB]  will help you to improve your maturity rating by suggesting engagement methods and process changes. On completion of the Maturity Model you will understand what steps could be taken to improve your maturity rating.  The materials below will help you to undertake this.

Training materials

For quick reference guides and e-learning, visit our training pages for referrers and  service providers.

You can also icon access information from the Help function within the e-RS [2.42MB] , or if you're on an N3 connection you can access it without logging in

Organisations commissioning services from providers new to e-RS have a responsibility to support the provider to:

The materials provided by NHS Digital can support these requirements, however we recommend that local training is also provided.

National Training Forum

The National Training Forum has been established to provide open and regular communication channels between the e-RS national training team and a representative panel of e-RS trainers (and/or representatives who are responsible for e-RS training) from the NHS and independent sector. 

The forum members currently meet bi-monthly, via a webinar, to:

  • review both delivered and scheduled system release content
  • discuss forthcoming functional changes and provide system demonstrations
  • consult and seek feedback on learning products and ideas
  • allow opportunities to share thoughts, knowledge and ask advice from other e-RS colleagues

Guest speakers are also invited to the meetings to cover learning or system related topics.

As part of a forum members role, the programme and other NHS Digital teams may ask for support to feed into training related research and to review learning materials.

If you're an e-RS trainer (or have responsibility for e-RS training) and wish to become a member of the forum, please send your interest request and job role to

Have a question about the e-Referral Service? Please contact

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