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NHS e-Referral Service makes its 100 millionth online booking

NHS e-Referral Service makes its 100 millionth online booking
17 December 2018

The NHS e-Referral Service has hit 100 million bookings since it was launched in 2005 as the NHS Choose and Book Service.

Currently the service is booking around 400,000 referrals nationally every week.

It allows patients or clinicians to book appointments in hospital or other care settings online and has been shown to reduce the number of people who fail to attend their appointment.

It enables patients to choose the time and the place most convenient for them, cuts administration for doctors, reduces the use of paper and saves time and money that can be better used for patient care.

The national announcement comes a week after both NHS Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire CCGs stated that early indications were that the introduction of ‘paperless referrals’ for patients for their first outpatient consultant-led services at hospital had been a great success.

Since October 1, the 38 GP practices across south east Hampshire, Fareham and Gosport have been contractually required to ensure that all referrals for the first outpatient consultant led services are submitted electronically, rather than the previous paper system. 

Dr Andrew Holden, the primary care lead for both CCGs, said then: “E-referrals are a quicker, more secure and confidential way of transferring information and booking a hospital appointment for a patient.” 

Dr Stephen Miller, National Medical Director of the NHS e-RS at NHS Digital, said: “Hitting 100 million bookings is a major landmark for the NHS e-Referral Service.

“Coming off the back of the recent switch over to a fully electronic referral process for GP to consultant-led outpatient appointments, this really demonstrates that improved patient outcomes are fully at the heart of new digital technology. 

“We now need to focus on expanding e-RS use so that it becomes the established way of making all referrals, ensuring that all patients all experience the same high-quality of referrals into NHS care.”