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Helping patients manage their referral online

More referrals are being made electronically with the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS). Using e-RS means practices have the chance to save time by helping patients manage their referral online.

Helping patients manage their referral online

The e-RS Manage Your Referral (MYR) website is easy for patients to use. It allows them to book, check, change and cancel their appointments online without help from the practice. 

Most patients will be directed to a booking webpage which provides information about the referral process. From here they can access the MYR website from the 'Start now' button to manage their referral using their booking reference number and access code

Patients can book their own appointment at a convenient date and time and location, where there is a choice for them to do so.

This means fewer patients contacting the practice to find out what is happening with their appointment. To further help patients manage their referrals digitally, integration between the NHS App and the MYR patient website took place in late October 2020.

This allows all patients who have fully registered with the NHS App to go straight into MYR from the NHS App to view or manage any e-RS referrals, triage requests or bookings, without needing the specific details for a referral (booking reference number and access code).

This is great news for patients and will hopefully encourage more of them to manage their referrals online.

Emails to patients

Patients are now able to receive their first outpatient appointment request information via email, instead of (or as well as) the traditional letter. This email will come from e-RS, not the GP practice email. It is sent to the email address registered when the patient created their NHS login. This makes it easier and quicker for patients to securely access their digital health and care services with one username and password. 

For patients who have an NHS login account, a ‘Send Patient Email’ button will be displayed to the initiating referrer after a shortlist has been created and submitted. The button will not show for patients who do not have an NHS login account.

The patient will receive an email with a link which will take them to an NHS login screen to enter their access details. Once they have successfully logged in, the patient will see their home page for MYR where they can book or manage their appointment. Should an appointment be unavailable the patient can still put the request in, and the provider will contact them when an appointment is available.

Should it be required, the email can be resent or printed out.

Watch this short video which explains how patients can access their referral information online.

Better for practices and the NHS

The Covid-19 situation has resulted in GP appointments happening in different ways, usually virtual, with very few patients being seen face to face by GPs.

This has resulted in an increase in patients not being aware that they have been referred as they are not being provided with the traditional paper copy of their Appointment Request letter (booking instructions). This situation has the potential to cause a delay to care.

Both the ability to send a patient an email with their booking instructions and the patients’ visibility of referrals through the NHS App, provide an opportunity to support non-face to face consultations, where a referral is the outcome. Encouraging patients to book their own appointments online can also save time and money for the practice and the wider NHS.  

Most importantly, encouraging use of the NHS App and MYR will reduce the likelihood of patients not being aware of their referral or how to progress them.

Over 40% of e-RS appointments are booked by practice staff

Most of these patients could book their own appointments online. Encouraging patients to book their own appointments online could save practice time and the NHS money.

Did not attend rate halved

When patients book their own appointments, the did not attend (DNA) rate is halved. This means patients are treated in a timely way and practices do not need to refer these patients again.

Patients can manage their appointments 24/7

When patients book their own appointments they can check, change or cancel their appointment online any time of day without contacting the practice.

Only 27% of patients are aware they can book appointments online

Use the downloadable content below for your waiting room TV to encourage patients to book their own appointments online.

What you can do

 Please talk to your patients about managing their own referral online. 

You can download a video to play in your waiting room. A PowerPoint version and a version on YouTube are also available.

We know the online service isn’t suitable for all patients, so the telephone appointment line is still available. Practices may still need to help those patients who need the booking made for them and for more urgent or two-week wait appointments.

This video shows an overview of the application as well as the benefits of using this for both patients and professionals:


Last edited: 28 July 2021 5:15 pm