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Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.


Information and training for providers using the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS), as well as guidance and help to make the most of the system. You can also learn about benefits and best practice.

The benefits of using e-RS

Benefits for service providers include:

  • providing support for process change and service re-design
  • a significant reduction in Did Not Attend (DNA)
  • an increase in the appropriateness of referrals

Productivity and efficiency can be improved by:

  • a reduction in staff time spent processing referrals, including electronic storage of referral letters and a reduction in the number of paper records transported across different sites and departments
  • less time spent by NHS staff ringing patients or sending out letters to arrange appointments

Find out more about realising the benefits.

Implementing e-RS

If you've not implemented e-RS, find out how to get started.

Access the professional application (N3 only).

Find out what smartcard business functions are available through e-RS, or find out more about smartcards.

Directory of Services

Find out how to create and maintain services on the Directory of Services.

Directly bookable services

Find out how to move to direct bookings (N3/HSCN connection required).

Slot availability issues

If you're unable to book an appointment, find out how to manage and minimise appointment slot issues. You can also find out about the benefit of matching manual booking ranges for appointments with e-Referral Service polling ranges.

Slot issue reports can be found within reports and statistics.

Making the most of e-RS

Named clinician functionality

Find out how the named clinician functionality works.

Advice and Guidance

Advice and Guidance (A&G) allows one clinician to seek advice from another. Unlike creating a booking request, where a number of providers can be selected, Advice and Guidance is a communication between two clinicians. Find out more about the tool.

Clinical Assessment Service

Find out more about the management of Clinical Assessment Service (CAS).

Did Not Attend referrals

We've put together a guide on how to action Did Not Attend (DNA) referrals.

Referral Assessment Services 

Referral Assessment Services (RAS) support complex care pathways, such as gastroenterology and cardiology, where it's not always clear whether a patient needs a consultant appointment or a diagnostic test.

A RAS set up by the provider will ensure patients' referrals are triaged correctly.

Further information and support materials can be found on the Referral Assessment Services page.

Training and support

Review the provider support page which consolidates materials to help with e-RS functions to increase user knowledge about system.

Further Assistance

The e-RS Implementation team can provide guidance and support on the adoption and best-practice use of e-RS. Please contact them on [email protected] for further assistance.

Guidance and implementation resources

Bulk service updates - for guidance and recommendations on bulk service updates, which allow service provider organisations to directly configure the Patient Administration Systems (PAS) for multiple Directly-Bookable Services, rather than updating each service individually.

Best practice guidelines - these help organisations comply with the contractual requirements of the NHS Standard Contract and to understand the importance of using the e-RS correctly, to deliver safe and effective patient care.

Independent sector provider guidance - information detailing the end to end process for independent sector providers from service concept to patients attending their appointment.

More resources can be found in our document library.

Last edited: 2 August 2023 1:57 pm