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GP Update

Single referral for Wirral CT services

Issue 12 - Feb 2017

After a busy surgery, GPs are often met with a task of filling out referral forms for services. The frustration is that once a clinical decision is made, the GP then has to face the form, finding the correct one amongst all of the 100s of forms that we have filed on our systems, wondering if is up to date and then worried about finding all of the information requested, some of which seems bizarre. We have listened and we have responded.

As part of a whole system reform, we have streamlined our referral process. The clinical input is all that should needed from the GP - that will be the end of the involvement of the GP.

In developing a single referral form within your clinical system all the relevant information already collected will automatically be added. A clinical review will rationalise the additional information to that which is absolutely essential to the referral and wherever possible any additional requirements can be managed between the referred service and your practice staff.

We want referrals to WCT to be as simple as possible after making the decision to refer, and this is how it should be. Some services will not be included initially and we will work with WROCS and the CCG to streamline these, such as services contracted under AQP, e.g. physiotherapy and podiatry.

This is a major change for our services that are now working to adapt to the change. We have engagement from some Wirral practice staff that are helping with the implementation along with the CCG and will facilitate the production of a process that will merge with EMIS to result in an electronic referral document that can be sent by secure email; or by fax if the practice has not modernised to secure IG practices.

If essential information is missing for a patient to be directed accurately to the correct service or within the service, there will be a process to collect this from practice staff without additional reference to the GP.

There is a pilot period starting after discussion with the LMC; to include circa 5 practices to try this out. We will monitor and adjust the process to result in a final implementation in mid-March 2017. You do not need to change anything now and existing referral pathways will remain open for a period of time after implementation.

This has not been a simple process and requires changes within many services, being sensitive to their requirements and ensuring that there is no unintended detriment to patients. Added to which there is a need to communicate this early and gather views from GPs, practice staff and services prior to full implementation.

I am very excited about this from a personal perspective as a GP wanting to see improvements for us all, but more particularly see this as a transformational change in a large organisation sensitive to the pressures felt by GP colleagues that will welcome a reduction in workload. 

• Decision to refer - this is all that is needed.
• Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust working to reduce GP workload

With best wishes







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