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Archived referrals - NHS e-Referral Service

Guidance on why electronic referrals are archived, the benefits of archiving and how to access archive referrals.


Where there has been no activity on a referral/unique booking reference number (UBRN) for 18 months or more, it will automatically be moved into a file called the Archive Viewer. You do not need to do anything as this will happen in the background. Where there are related referrals there must be no activity against any of the referrals in the care path.

The Archive Viewer has the same safety protocols as any smartcard accessible application.

‘No activity’ is defined as no history actions being recorded against the UBRN within the NHS e-Referral Service.

A deletion process will take place once the UBRN has moved from the live NHS e-Referral Service into the Archive Viewer. All referrals, including appointment requests and advice and guidance requests, are affected once they have not been active for 18 months or more. Archived files will include all clinical information, attachments and referral history.

The archiving process provides three key benefits:

  1. Allows for better management of referrals that are no longer active but may still require accessing.
  2. Speeds up the NHS e-Referral Service by holding old files in a separate area.
  3. Reduces the cost of keeping old referrals in the live environment.

Note: users will require access to applications which can open zipped and pdf files to view archived referral information.

Accessing archived referrals

Image of patient search screen no results with view archive button displayed

As a referring clinician or a referring clinician admin, enter the patient’s NHS number and then select "View Archive". Immage of view archive button

The archived referrals are displayed in a separate tab in your browser window.

Select the required UBRN.

UBRN zip file generator

Select the "Copy Password" button.

e-RS allow access message

Select the "Allow access" option which will enable the password to be copied to your clipboard. A similar message will appear if using another browser.

e-RS file open message

Select "Open" to retrieve the archived referral information.

Double click the UBRN to open the folder.

UBRN pdf file

Double click to open the UBRN pdf file.

More information on this referral (referral letter) is available within the "ClinicalAttachments" folder.

Password entry screen

Paste the copied password and select "OK".

The PDF will open and the information can be viewed by scrolling through the document.

What else do users need to know about archiving?

After opening referrals via the Archive Viewer users should clear their temporary internet files to ensure patient data is not held on their computer. This should be completed in line with local IT standards.

Users do not need to do anything for referrals to be archived. The NHS e-Referral Service will do this automatically once the referral has had no activity against it for 18 months. Archived referrals will not be shown in any enquiries or extracts.

Last edited: 7 December 2020 12:58 pm