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Best practice guidelines for Commissioners - NHS e-Referral Service

Generic guidelines for commissioners and their responsibilities in the NHS e-Referral services (e-RS)

Generic guidelines

Users of e-RS must be appropriately qualified, trained, and compliant with required Information Governance standards. Find out more about Information Governance.

Clinicians are responsible for any decision to delegate clinical actions within e-RS to non-clinicians.

Certain aspects of the system require clinical input, such as selecting clinically appropriate services, and reviewing referral information. Other tasks can be more appropriately carried out by administrative support staff, such as booking or re-scheduling appointments. Review the clinical responsibilities when delegating roles information for guidance about appropriate delegation.

Appropriate members of the clinical or administration teams must monitor worklists on a daily basis, to support effective management of referrals. Find out more about the management of worklists (N3/HSCN connection required to access link).

Technical support teams must ensure that the correct equipment, infrastructure and user support is in place to enable optimum use of e-RS in all appropriate workplace environments.

Managers must ensure that operational policies (for example access or referral management policies) reflect the guidelines described in this page and that all relevant staff adhere to them.

Find out more about tools provided by the NHS Interim Management and Support (IMAS) intensive support team.

Commissioner responsibilities

Commissioners are responsible for:

Using their best endeavours to ensure that all referrals are made through the e-RS system.

Commissioning local services in e-RS to make them available to local referrers.

Ensuring that any e-RS clinical assessment services are used appropriately as part of any referral management strategy.

In deciding whether to use a locally commissioned clinical assessment service, commissioners must:

  • assure themselves that this pathway really does provide added clinical benefit for patients
  • ensure that patient pathways are recorded in accordance with the 18 week referral to treatment rules
  • ensure that patient care is not compromised or delayed
  • ensure that the process is clearly explained and understood by patients; for example, if the use of ‘dummy’ appointments is locally agreed, patients should understand exactly how their real appointment will be arranged

Read the commissioning in the NHS e-Referral service guidance which shows how e-RS can be used to directly effective commissioning.

Last edited: 18 November 2019 11:00 am