The Referral Support Service was originally set up by NHS Coventry however it is now delivered by Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group. Our aim is to maintain high quality patient services at a time of financial pressure. We aim to get the patient to the right care, at the right time, in the right place. We hope to improve the patient’s experience and reduce waste. Similar referral schemes have been set up in other parts of England, with impressive results.
A team of clinicians work sessions at Parkside House, triaging referrals in their specialist field. The team work closely with named consultants from secondary care and they get to know their specialty well.
When a letter has been triaged, it is passed electronically to the Referral Support Service team via the e-Referral Service (Previously known as Choose and Book), who contact the patient by letter and offer a choice of suitable services. The team is ably led by Angela McDonald, the Referral Support Service Team Leader and managed by Natalie Fuller who also visits practices to provide support for those using the Service.
Referrals marked “urgent” are triaged in advance of routine referrals, and the patient is offered an early appointment. Where capacity does not allow this, the triager will phone the referring GP, to discuss how best to proceed.
GP Gateway is designed to give information about local referral arrangements and pathways. The service only works if we have a consensus approach and we like to hear from you.
Sometimes we get in touch with the referring doctor, if more information is required before the hospital appointment. Often we request pre-referral investigations. I know it’s a pain, but it means fewer out-patient visits for the patient and financial savings for the NHS.
I am worried that we only contact you when we want something. So I would like to say here – it is a pleasure to receive so many detailed and thoughtful letters, which demonstrate the high standards and professionalism of our local GPs. The people of Coventry and Rugby are lucky to have you.
With best wishes,
Dr Manjari Bollu, GP Gateway Editor