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NHS England announces ‘roadmap’ for improved patient e-Referral system

NHS England announced its vision today for an improved electronic patient referral service for the NHS, at the Commissioning Show in London.

The vision for change will build on the existing Choose and Book system, aiming to transform it into an improved and expanded NHS e-Referral Service. This is part of NHS England’s commitment to making all referrals electronic and the NHS paperless by 2018.

The announcement kicked off an initial five-month consultation period with healthcare professionals, with further consultations planned with patients. Feedback from the consultations will drive the future design and help develop a system that is simpler to use, adopts the latest technology and provides an improved service for users and better experience for patients.

Speaking at the event, NHS England’s Director of Strategic Systems and Technology, Beverley Bryant, said:

“When Choose and Book was introduced nearly 10 years ago it was a major step forward in embracing modern technology with the aim of offering patients a choice of appointment at a time and place to suit them. But we know that Choose and Book has worked for some and not for others and a combination of electronic and paper referrals is still being used in some areas.

“Our vision is not to reinvent the wheel. What we are very clear on is the need to understand what clinicians want from the system and the consultation is central to this. We want a system that is quick, easy and beneficial for healthcare professionals to use and ultimately improves patient experience by providing flexibility and choice around the services we offer wherever the patient is.”

We would like to engage with as many healthcare professionals as possible and welcome feedback from anyone that is involved with patient referrals. There are lots of ways to get involved with the consultation by visiting www.hscic.gov.uk/ers and completing the survey.

Alternatively, come along to the Commissioning Show exhibition stand number JJ20 and speak to a member of the team in person. The NHS e-Referral Service team is also happy to come out to local groups or organisations and this can be requested by emailing nhs.ers@hscic.gov.uk

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