Helping patients manage their referral online

Summary

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 website is easy for patients to use. It allows them to book, check, change and cancel their appointments online without help from the practice.

Patients can take control and book their own appointment on a convenient date and time and at their preferred hospital or clinic if there is a choice. This means no more worried patients contacting the practice to find out what is happening with their appointment.

Better for practices and the NHS

Encouraging patients to book their own appointments online can also save time and money for the practice and the wider NHS.

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 posters, leaflets and downloadable content for your waiting room TV to encourage patients to book their own appointments online.

Information packs

GP practices with a referral process which allows patients to book their own appointments online, will receive information packs to help them to encourage patients to use the online service. 

The pack includes:

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

What you can do

Please talk to your patients about managing their own referral online. You can give them one of the patient leaflets with their booking letter until everyone is familiar with the message.

The booking process hasn’t changed. Patients can book their appointments online safely, securely and easily at www.nhs.uk/referrals using their booking reference number and access code.

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 the application as well as the benefits of using this for both patients and professionals: