Skip to main content
Slot reservation - NHS e-Referral Service

Slot reservation allows service providers of directly bookable services (DBS) to retain newly published appointment slots within the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) for their own use, for a limited number of days

How it helps service providers

Slot reservation allows service providers to reserve newly published appointment slots within e-RS. These newly published slots are only visible to their organisation for a limited number of days and as a result, allows their personnel to book patients into these slots. The following scenarios detail when this may be helpful.

Scenario 1: when an appointment needs to be rebooked. For example, as a result of cancelling and re-scheduling a clinic.

Scenario 2: when an onward referral is being booked into a service within the same provider organisation that initiated the onward referral, and no suitable appointments are available.

Scenario 3: when a referral is ‘deferred’ to the provider (i.e. due to an appointment slot issue) and the UBRN appears on the Appointment Slot Issues worklist.

It should be noted that in all these examples, the slot reservation functionality will allow the booking of appointments to remain within e-RS, therefore giving providers access to the referral letter once it has been attached.

How it works

The service definer in a provider organisation can apply slot reservation to a service under the ‘Slot Management’ shrub in the ‘Maintain Services’ tab. The ‘Slot Reservation Period’ value can be set to:

  • 0 day - no slot reservation is applied
  • 1 day - new slots sent to e-RS will be reserved for provider use only for one day
  • 2 days - new slots sent to e-RS will be reserved for provider use only for two days

Who can book into reserved slots?

The following roles are able to book patients into reserved slots: 

  • service provider clinician 
  • service provider clinician admin
  • service provider admin 
  • additional requirements manager

Examples and impact of applying slot reservation to a service

When applying slot reservation to a service, it is recommended that the Slot Polling Range is increased by the same number of days as selected for the Slot Reservation Period. This will ensure that the same range of appointment slots is still available to external users.

For the following scenarios, the current Slot Polling Range is initially set to 70 days.

Slot reservation set to 0 - Slot Polling Range will still be 70 days as there is no slot reservation

Slot reservation set to 1 - Slot Polling Range will be 71 days as there is one day slot reservation

Slot reservation set to 2 - Slot Polling Range will be 72 days as there is two days slot reservation

If adhoc appointment slots are created for a service (for example, short notice additional clinics are added within the existing polling range) and are published to e-RS with slot reservation applied to the service, then when e-RS receives these new slots for the first time it will reserve them for the slot reservation period and they will not immediately be available to all users.

Other useful information to know about slot reservation

Below are some useful information points about slot reservation.

  • the day e-RS first receives any new slot is regarded as day one
  • once a reserved slot is booked into, if the appointment is cancelled by any user the slot will no longer be reserved. Other slot management rules such as Slot Protection’ (N3/HSCN connection required to access link) will still apply as per normal
  • once a slot has been reserved it cannot be reserved again
  • a reserved appointment slot will be shown with an asterisk next to it
  • if a mixture of reserved and unreserved slots are available, a user should select those which are reserved in preference to the unreserved slots (which will remain available for booking by external users)
  • the slot availability enquiry  (N3/HSCN connection required to access link) results will display the number of slots that are reserved in brackets in the ‘Slots Unused’ column

Last edited: 15 October 2019 1:08 pm