The NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) programme has introduced Referral Assessment Services (RAS), which now allow providers to:
- assess the Clinical Referral Information from the GP/referrer
- decide on the most appropriate onward clinical pathway
- contact the patient to discuss choice (if an elective referral)
- arrange an appointment, where needed
- return the triage request to the original referrer with advice, if an onward referral isn't needed
This new facility supports 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.
An NHS e-Referral Service Performance & Development Manager has provided the following feedback on the new functionality:
"I am really impressed with the RAS functionality, it is working extremely well for our services. Everything has been so easy, the service set up was simple, the roll out seamless and switching off our Clinical Assessment Services has not caused any problems. It is the best thing that the NHS e-Referral Service has done for a long time. It has allowed us to set up services such as dietetics and oncology that would not have been suitable to be set up as bookable services. We are now able to achieve the efficiencies of electronic referral management for these services and remove paper processes"
The booking clerks love it, they can see all their patients in the worklist - they can easily tell which patients are waiting for assessment in the RAS, something they were not able to do using CAS functionality. This saves them time as they do not have to filter worklists to try and find patients."