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Using the Referral Management System

In July NHS St Helens CCG launched a referral management system, which aimed to improve the quality of referrals to hospitals and lessen the burden of the administration time involved for GPs.

All referrals made by GPs to are sent to a dedicated reception and booking team which manage the referral from that point on. The team checks referrals to make sure they contain all the information that the hospital would need to see the patient and liaises with the practice if anything additional is needed.

For some referrals there will be a paper triage carried out on the referral to help decide whether the patient could be better cared for in a dedicated community clinic, or if alternative management would be more effective.

We have been talking to one practice about their experiences….

Jan Bonney, Medical Secretary from Four Acres Surgery said: “We absolutely love RMS – I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t be using it. We can now get through referrals much quicker and can pick them up throughout the day in between our other work which means we pretty much keep on top of our referrals.

“The old system when we had to go through Choose and Book was so time-consuming but through RMS it’s so much quicker; it feels like the booking team at the CSU is doing most of the work for us. And we are not getting as many queries from patients either, which also frees up our time to focus on other practice activities.

"The referral process before could often be challenging as sometimes we didn’t know who to refer the patient to, and it could be time consuming to find out but now all that has been taken away from us.

“We have up to 14 referrals a day so you can imagine how complicated it could be. And we would also be giving quite a lot of support to new registrars who were not familiar with our systems but with RMS, that has gone away as well. It really is a great system and everyone should be using it.”