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Find information and training to help you get started with making referrals in the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS), as well as guidance and help to make the most of the system.


Benefits for referrers include:

  • a safe, secure and reliable system supporting patients in their choice decisions, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • an easy and reliable way of identifying appropriate services
  • helping to optimise the clinical appropriateness of referrals
  • the concept of "book now, refer later" which allows the referrer to fully involve the patient in the decision making process during the consultation
  • more efficient referral processes, such as reduced time spent chasing written referrals if implemented correctly

Find out more about  icon realising the benefits. [186.57KB]

Referral management plan

Find out  icon how to develop a referral management plan. [196.69KB]

Implementing e-RS

If you've not implemented e-RS, icon find out how to get started. [38.83KB]

Access the professional application.

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.

Making a referral

Use our e-learning module to learn about making e-RS referrals. Watch the video demonstration to see a typical patient journey using e-RS, or you can use icon this version [30.83MB] to view specific parts of a journey (this requires Adobe Flash Player v10 or higher).

Our icon best practice guidelines [183.42KB] help organisations:

  • comply with the contractual requirements of the NHS Standard Contract
  • understand the importance of using the NHS e-Referral Service correctly
  • to deliver safe and effective patient care

icon Developing a referral management [196.69KB] plan will help you follow the principles of 'Referral Management - Lessons for Success', published by the Kings Fund in 2010 to improve quality and make savings.  

You can refer to named consultant-led teams by using the 'Named clinician' function. icon Our guidance [56.78KB] will help you follow the process.


Find out more about smartcards and download the icon business roles matrix. [129.79KB]

Reports and statistics

Find out which referrals are going through e-RS by downloading individual reports from the  reports and statistics page.

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.

Training materials

For quick reference guides and e-learning, visit our training page. 

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

Technical or system performance issues

Our service status page shows all known issues with the service (N3 connection needed).

Details of planned outages will be published on the live service information pages.  

Guidance and policies

icon Supporting vulnerable patients [183.61KB]
icon Clinical responsibility when delegating actions [129.61KB]
icon Archived referrals [859.21KB]
icon Advice and guidance [198.7KB]
icon Managing and minimising appointment slot issues [455.14KB]

More resources can be found in our document library.


More in this section

Training for referrers

Download quick reference guides and e-learning materials, and find out how to access our training environment, which mirrors the live system.

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

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