The Standard Contract for 2018/19 requires the full use of the NHS e-Referral Service (eRS) for all consultant-led first outpatient appointments. From 1 October 2018, providers will only be paid for activity resulting from referrals made through eRS. This will support local health communities to plan for the paper switch off for elective referrals.
The new GP contract includes a further investment of £10 million in practices, to support full implementation of e-RS, to make it available at every GP practice by October 2018.
NHS England has issued new guidance for managing referrals. The guidance and a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) is aimed at commissioners (CCGs and NHS England), GP practices, and all providers of acute consultant-led outpatient services which accept referrals from GP practices.
Find out the latest paper switch off (PSO) dates for NHS Trusts.
The impact of paper switch off
The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has reviewed a sample of 100 e-Referral Service (e-RS) referrals against 100 paper referrals to understand the patient benefits. From an analysis across 20 clinical specialities, the findings revealed that on average patients received an appointment 8 days faster when referrals were made via e-RS. Find out more.
Resources to help you with paper switch off
Video case study
This case study shows how Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust achieved paper switch off in November 2017. It highlights the trust's approach to paper switch off and their top tips.
The first trust in the West Midlands achieving Paper Switch Off is Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.
Sally Sandel, Senior Commissioning Manager at Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG said: “The trust has worked really hard to achieve this and it’s also a real demonstration of partnership working between the trust, the CCG, the CSU and primary care. Recognition needs to be given to GP practices across the CCG footprint that actively attended e-RS training and came on board with e-RS much earlier than required. The CCG and the trust will continue to work together to address any ongoing issues and pressures, through regular meetings and through our e-RS user groups, where any concerns GP practices have can be raised, discussed and resolved.”
Read how The Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH), located on Farnborough Common is part of the King’s College NHS Foundation Trust worked collaboratively to switch-off paper referrals.
GP case studies
“Advice and Guidance is definitely worth using. It's very quick, it's responsive and I can't see a single reason why any one of us GPs wouldn't want to use it for patients.” Dr Dan Dhanushan, New Queen Street Surgery, Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire.
Find out more about what the health community in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough think about the improved e-RS Advice and Guidance function by watching this video:
Dr Chris Markwick’s local trust, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, was one of the first to switch off paper referrals. Find out what he thinks about e-RS.
The East London Health and Care Partnership have produced a video about e-RS and how they feel it has the potential to transform the way they look after their patients.
Clinicians from primary and secondary care describe the enhanced Advice and Guidance function and the new Referral Assessment Service, as well as the broader benefits of e-RS for patients and clinicians.
The paper switch off implementation pack details the recommended approach to the project, from establishing project governance and set-up, to business process change, along with:
- associated guidance
Communicating your plans effectively has been highlighted as critical. Use this new communication toolkit to help you to plan and deliver your communication activity. If you require further information, contact your NHS Digital Implementation Manager (details are in the implementation pack).