Patients are now able to easily and safely book and manage their e-RS referrals through the NHS App1, reducing non-attendance of appointments and saving GPs’ time.
GPs are now able to email appointment booking details for the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) directly to patients with an NHS login2. Those patients are then able to securely access the NHS Manage Your Referral website directly from the NHS App, saving on having to print and post booking instructions3.
This functionality, live since October 2020, has demonstrable benefits. Research has shown that when patients book their own appointments, the ‘did not attend’ rate can reduce by up to half, so patients are treated quickly while practices don’t need to refer patients again.
Martin O’Keeffe, Senior Clinical Lead at NHS Digital said: “We’ve put the power back into patients’ hands, giving them another digital route to book and manage their own hospital appointments.
“The NHS App will provide an easy, quick and secure way to do this on the move, meaning many patients won’t have to wait for their referral details in the post before they book their first appointment.
“The NHS App currently has over 2 million verified users. With 40% of e-RS appointments currently being booked by practice staff, this provides a powerful push for primary care to introduce their patients to the benefits of the NHS App, and save themselves and the wider NHS both time and money.
“This will make the whole process smoother and simpler for everyone involved and ultimately will improve patient care.
“This is part of a series of improvements that are being made to the NHS e-Referral service designed to help clinicians and patients.”
The NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) provides an easy way for patients to choose their first hospital or clinic appointment with a specialist. Bookings can be made online, using the telephone, or directly in the GP surgery at the time of referral.