Referral to a specialist

The BMA, NHS England, and the National Association for Patient Participation have developed a patient leaflet which describes what patients can expect if their GP refers them to see a specialist or consultant, at a hospital or a community centre.

The leaflet also provides a helpful checklist for patients to use before they leave hospital. If you are unsure about any of the questions in the checklist, please make sure you discuss them with a member of staff before you leave hospital.

The BMA patient liaison group has also created a guide on hospital discharge which documents patients', carers' and doctors' perspectives of hospital discharge. The guide includes stories about good and bad experiences to illustrate the importance of sensitive and timely 'joined-up-working' to facilitate a smooth transfer of care for patients leaving hospital.

Putting patients in control of their outpatient appointments

The NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) provides an easy way for patients to directly manage their first hospital or clinic appointment with a specialist, enabling appointments to be easily booked, checked, changed or cancelled online. GPs and practice staff can now email referral booking information securely to patients who have an NHS login and patients can also manage their referral in the NHS App - removing the need to print and post booking instructions.

Please review your e-RS processes to take advantage of this functionality and view this short video explaining the benefits.

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