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Clinical referral information standards

What we are doing

With an ageing population and a rise in people living with long-term conditions in the UK, there has been an increase in referrals and attendance at outpatient clinics.

The aim of this project is to produce

  • standard headings and content definitions for referral communications from GPs to hospitals, which are applicable across referrals to different specialties and disciplines
  • implementation guidance, including requirements for the way in which information provided in clinical referral letters will be used in hospital systems.

Currently there are differences between GP systems and GP practices in the clinical content of referrals, with multiple templates in use. Although appointments can be booked online through the NHS Digital e-referrals service (NHS e-RS), many referral letters are still paper-based.

The standards will:

  • be practical to implement and useful to patients
  • provide hospital clinicians with the information that they need
  • enable GPs to communicate what they regard as clinically necessary.

Following the project, the e-referrals service will use the new information standard to help develop the interoperability between hospital and GP practice systems to streamline to electronic transfer of information. 

For more information please visit the PRSB website.