Managing referrals made easier through NHS App

NHS Digital has announced that the NHS e-Referral Service has been integrated into the NHS App to make managing referrals easier.

The move means that patients can now manage their e-RS referrals through the NHS App more safely and easily,  reducing non-attendance of appointments and saving GPs’ time. Equally, GPs are now able to email appointment booking details for the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) directly to patients with an NHS login.

This functionality, live since October 2020, has demonstrable benefits. Research has shown that when patients book their own appointments, the ‘did not attend’ rate can reduce by up to half, so patients are treated quickly while practices don’t need to refer patients again.

Martin O’Keeffe, Senior Clinical Lead at NHS Digital said: “We’ve put the power back into patients’ hands, giving them another digital route to book and manage their own hospital appointments. The NHS App will provide an easy, quick and secure way to do this on the move, meaning many patients won’t have to wait for their referral details in the post before they book their first appointment.

“The NHS App currently has over two million verified users. With 40 per cent of e-RS appointments currently being booked by practice staff, this provides a powerful push for primary care to introduce their patients to the benefits of the NHS App, and save themselves and the wider NHS both time and money. This will make the whole process smoother and simpler for everyone involved and ultimately will improve patient care. This is part of a series of improvements that are being made to the NHS e-Referral service designed to help clinicians and patients.”

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