As part of the NHS National Paper Switch-Off programme, hospitals have been working toward their own paper referral switch-off dates.
In the not so distant past, if your GP wanted to refer you to a consultant he might have sent a letter, or she might have sent a fax. And, as many people will remember, these sometimes “got lost” causing delays and frustration.
The NHS e-Referral Service should have made this a thing of the past long ago. GPs can now send referrals electronically to the hospital. This reduces the risk of administrative error. However, some secondary care services (including hospitals) were still only accepted paper referrals for some services. That’s about to change because NHS England set a paper switch-off deadline for October 1st 2018.
Nationally, more than two thirds of acute trusts have now achieved paper switch-off. The dates for our local acute providers have been working to are as follows:
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust – 21st July 2018
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – 30th July 2018
Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – 1st August 2018
This is an entirely “behind the scenes” change but we think it’s important that patients are told. Patients need to know how the system should work, so they can ask the right questions when things don’t work.
If you have any feedback about the referrals process please get in touch.