NHS e-Referral Service

man typing on a laptop

Across the country, we’re all working towards improving the experience for patients when they are referred by their GP for their first outpatient appointment at hospital.

Currently, patients can be referred either online or by paper referral. The national NHS
e-Referral Service (e-RS) – also known as the Paper Switch off Programme – will see a fully digital service, with first referrals being made online only. These will be bookable either while you’re at your GP appointment or at home when it’s more convenient for you.

This is being implemented across the country and brings with it a range of benefits, for you as a patient, for your GP, and for our Trust – you can read more about these below.

Ultimately e-RS gives you more choice and control over your care, and greater access to NHS services. And it will help to streamline the way we operate, enabling us to work more efficiently and effectively, and help to eliminate problems under the current system.

Getting ready

Across our hospitals we’re working hard to make sure we’re ready for March 2018 when all our outpatient services must be available online. This is ahead of the programme going fully live in October 2018, when e-RS will become the only way to make and receive referrals from GPs to consultant-led first outpatient appointments.

We are working with our partners to ensure we successfully implement e-RS across our hospitals and we’ll be sharing more information about how it will work in practice for you over the coming weeks.


Benefits to our patients

  • More choice and control over your healthcare
  • Choice of hospital or specialist
  • Choice of appointment date and time
  • Shorter times between referral and treatment
  • Effective care and good patient experience
  • Recording your first referral electronically

The benefits for our Trust

  • Improved referral to treatment times
  • Better patient/GP access to our services
  • Reduced ‘did not attend’ (DNA) rates
  • Improved administration
  • Cost and time savings

The benefits for your G.P

  • High quality clinical care and good patient experience
  • First appointment referrals made ‘live’
  • No ‘lost’ referrals
  • Supported by advice and guidance to ensure only appropriate referrals made
  • Improved administration
  • Audit of patient referral activity.

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