CAS providers should adhere to the following principles:
- A CAS should only be set up where it helps to streamline referral pathways.
- The CAS must always add clinical value to a patient’s journey.
A CAS will offer the most benefit to a clinical pathway where there are a number of potential outcomes to the initial referral and where further clinical intervention or assessment will help ensure that the patient is on the most appropriate onward care pathway.
- The CAS should NOT add unnecessary delay to the patient’s journey
The Referral to Treatment Time (RTT) pathway must always be completed in line with current timescales.
- The CAS must be specialty/sub-specialty specific and should be managed by appropriately qualified clinicians.
Multi-specialty CASs are not supported in the NHS e-Referral Service and are unlikely to provide the degree of specialism necessary to improve clinical outcomes.
- Patients should always be made aware of the referral process.
The referring clinician should understand the assessment process and should explain to the patient what will happen when the initial referral has been assessed. Following the initial assessment, if an onward referral is appropriate, staff operating the CAS should inform patients of the assessment outcome and involve them in deciding where and when they would like to be referred-on.