More than half of acute hospital trusts implement e-Referral Service ahead of October deadline

Statistics from NHS Digital indicate that nearly 80 trusts in England have now switched off paper referrals for outpatient appointments.


[London, UK] Over 50% of acute hospital trusts in England are now processing GP referrals for outpatient appointments electronically ahead of the October paper switch off deadline.

An additional cohort of ten trusts is expected to make the transition to the e-Referral Service (e-RS) before the end of the month.

Starting from October this year, organisations will only receive payments for activity resulting from referrals made through the electronic system.  

The new GP contract, which came into effect in April this year, included a £10m investment to support uptake of the service in primary care to allow GPs to identify hospitals with the shortest waiting lists, speeding up access to services for patients.

“It is really encouraging that we have hit this major milestone and it’s an incredible achievement which is the result of a lot of hard work from all involved.

“e-RS puts the patient at the heart of the referral because it allows patients to book an appointment at a location, date and time that is convenient to them.

“Not only that, but the booking is immediate, speeding up the time it takes to be treated and reducing the number of appointments where the patient fails to attend by up to half,” said Eve Roodhouse, NHS Digital Director of Implementation and the Digital Environment.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals and County Durham & Darlington were the first NHS trusts to fully start processing appointments by using the electronic platform.

Earlier this year, Morgan Thanigasalam, Sherwood Forest Hospitals ICT Clinical Lead, told BJ-HC

“We are extremely proud to be the first Trust to achieve 100% GP e-referrals. It reflects our commitment to digitising processes – not IT for the sake of it, but digital transformation with clear benefits for patients, staff and the wider health economy.”

Related content:

New GP contract sees £10m investment in e-Referral service roll-out

Leontina Postelnicu

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