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Named clinician guidance – NHS e-Referral Service

This guidance will help secondary care providers set up slots for specific clinicians’ teams so that referrals can be directed to them and managed appropriately

The NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) allows referrals to be made to named consultant-led teams through the "Named Clinician functionality". It also allows referrals to generic (or pooled) services to which multiple clinicians are assigned.

Patients can choose to be referred to a named consultant-led team or there may be genuine clinical reasons why a referrer may recommend referral to a specific clinical team. These include:

  • referral to a consultant-led team known to have a particular specialist or sub-specialist interest in the patient’s condition
  • referral back to a consultant-led team which previously managed a patient
  • following an advice and guidance request where the patient has chosen to see the clinician that has provided the advice and guidance response

Provider set-up for named clinician referral

You can select named clinicians for a service within the "Service Personnel" section of the service description in the Directory of Services. Clinicians must be registered with smartcards and added to a workgroup associated with the service within the directory.

All staff with a "service provider clinician" role will be available for selection as a named clinician. A clinician can be:

  • allocated only
  • both allocated and named

A clinician cannot be named without being allocated.

A "named" clinician is one who is associated with the service. Their name can be used by a referrer to search for specific slots assigned to them. An "allocated" clinician will still be associated with the service but will not be searchable using the named clinician functionality.

To allow bookings to named consultant-led teams, specific appointment slots for named clinicians should be allocated within the hospital patient administration systems.

We advise against adding the consultant’s name to the service name. This can make the searching process confusing for patients and referrers, who may be presented with a long list of similar services at the same provider.

Providers are required to accept all clinically appropriate referrals and have a responsibility to assess whether the referral information meets their acceptance criteria. There should be no difference in criteria used to reject referrals to a named consultant-led team or to any other service.

For services that have more than one consultant led team (pooled services), multiple named clinicians can be added to the same service

Indirectly bookable services

Referrals to named consultant-led teams can be made using e-RS for both directly and indirectly bookable services. The named clinician will appear on the patient’s appointment request and be seen by the booking manager when a patient phones the service to book their appointment. This should allow them to book an appropriate appointment with a specific consultant-led team.

Independent sector healthcare providers

The clinical commissioning group in which an independent sector healthcare provider (ISHCP) is located is responsible for providing the registration authority (RA) manager service to the provider. They can do this by either:

  1. Setting up smartcard access to each individual at the provider organisation
  2. Delegating the role to a staff member at the provider organisation who can set up individuals with smartcards using the same business process that the CCG would use

Guidance on RA and smartcards can be found on the NHS Digital website.

Troubleshooting - named clinician slots in e-RS

For named clinician slots to be published in e-RS, the patient administration system (PAS) needs to notify the e-RS of the named clinician assigned to each appointment slot. It does this by sending the clinician smartcard user ID and role profile ID to e-RS. If the expected named clinician slots are not showing, it is likely that the PAS has not sent the necessary information through.

The way that PAS systems obtain the required smartcard information to publish named clinician slots can vary. For example, the information may be held locally on the PAS or the PAS interrogates the Spine Directory Service (SDS) to obtain the information. Service providers therefore need to understand which of these apply to their system.

Where the information (smartcard ID and role profile ID) is held locally, this problem should not occur. Where the information is held remotely, the PAS system will use the clinician’s GMC number to obtain the smartcard user ID and role profile ID from the SDS. Providing the GMC code has been included in the user profile on the SDS, the smartcard ID and role profile will be returned and named slots will be visible.

A problem occurs where the clinician’s GMC number is not contained in their user profile on the SDS (that is - it was not added correctly when the user profile was created). Your local Registration Authority agent should be able to check the profile of any clinician within your organisation to see if the GMC number has been added correctly on the SDS.

Where the GMC number is missing or is incorrect, a service request needs to be raised with the NHS Digital National Service Desk, who will arrange for a change request to be raised for action.

More information about loading consultant and GP information to the Spine is provided by our Organisation Data Service.


Last edited: 13 June 2019 10:47 am