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NHS e-Referral Service

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.

Top tasks

Live service information and alerts
Reports and statistics - including weekly utilisation reports
If you're a patient, book or manage your e-referral - visit NHS.UK if you've been referred to a hospital or clinic through the NHS e-Referral Service. NHS staff can find out how to help patients to manage their referral online

Advice and guidance toolkit

Advice and guidance allows a clinician to seek advice from another, providing digital communication between two clinicians: the “requesting” clinician and the provider of a service, the “responding” clinician.

Find out more by reviewing the advice and guidance toolkit.

Using the service

If you're a patient, find out more about appointment booking on the NHS.UK website.

Whether you're using e-RS for the first time, or an existing user wanting to make the most of the service, NHS Digital provides a range of material for referrers (such as a general practice), providers (a hospital or clinic) and commissioners.

This demonstration video shows a typical patient journey using e-RS:

This shows how to:

  • create a service
  • raise an Advice and Guidance request and receive responses
  • create a referral
  • a patient makes an appointment online
  • a provider accepts a referral

Benefits of the service

The benefits of e-RS include:

  • cost and time savings
  • fewer missed appointments
  • fewer inappropriate referrals
  • shorter referral to treatment times
  • choice of hospital or specialist
  • choice of appointment date and time

Find out more about the benefits of the service.

Improving the service

We are continually improving the service and many changes have already been made, and more are planned. Find out how the service is improving.

Paper switch off

All 150 acute hospital trusts and GP practices have made the move to sending and receiving all first outpatient referrals through the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS). Find out more about paper switch off.

Contact us or find out more

Have a question about e-RS?

Discover how you can find further information and how to contact us.

Related news

NHS Digital article
11 June 2018
More than 50 per cent of acute hospital trusts in England have switched off paper referrals and are now processing GP referrals for outpatient appointments digitally.

Related pages

  1. internal

    Helping patients manage their referral online

    More referrals are being made electronically with the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS). Using e-RS means practices have the chance to save time by helping patients manage their referral online.

  2. internal

    Reports and statistics

    These reports are intended to be used in addition to local NHS e-Referral Service reports and extracts available from within our application. Each report includes a cover page detailing the contents, and the criteria used for any data analysis.

  3. internal

    Referrers

    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.

  4. internal

    Providers

    Information and training for providers using the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS), as well as guidance and help to make the most of the system. You can also learn about benefits and best practice.

  5. internal

    Commissioners

    The NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) is used to make around 70,000 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.

  6. internal

    Case studies

    Covering lessons learned and personal experiences, these case studies provide an insight into the implementation, benefits and use of the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) across primary and secondary care.

  7. internal

    Integration

    Find out how to integrate systems to enable electronic booking with the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS), including how to achieve compliance, attain secure coupling and support safe business process interactions.

Last edited: 21 November 2019 10:29 am