Referral for Outpatient

Following publication of March 2024 data on 9 May 2024, we have suspended the collection and publication of Monthly Referral Return data until further notice. This is because of the need to reduce the burden on the NHS and because a range of alternative data are available. The change was proposed in the consultation on health and social care statistical outputs published by DHSC, NHSBA, UKHSA, ONS and NHS England that closed on 5 March.

Alternative data sources in this area are available as follows:

· Information on the demand for elective services in the form of new clock starts for consultant-led treatment is available as part of Consultant-led referral to treatment waiting times publications, including, from April 2024, Waiting List Minimum Data Set (WLMDS) information which includes a national level timeseries and breakdown by provider for the latest week for new RTT clock starts split by referral source

· Information on referrals made through the e-Referral Service is available as open data

· Information on the number of outpatient first attendances that occur each month are published via the Hospital Episode Statistics, which can be used to derive numbers broken down by referral source


The Monthly Referral Return (MRR) contains data relating to GP and other referrals for first consultant-led outpatient appointments focusing on all treatment functions and specific acute treatment functions. MRR figures are submitted monthly from June 2020 by NHS trusts and independent sector providers treating NHS patients. Referrals information prior to June 2020 has been taken from the Monthly Hospital Activity page here with the exception of other referrals (all specialties) which can be found on the Quarterly Hospital Activity page here.

View the latest data


Statistical Press Notice
Statistical Press Notice March 2024 (PDF, 128KB)

Pre-Release Access List
Download Monthly Outpatient Referrals Pre-Release Access List (PDF, 57KB)

Monthly Outpatient Referrals Guidance (PDF, 242KB)

Contact Us

For further information about the published statistics, please contact us at:

Operational Insights
NHS England
7 & 8 Wellington Place