We’re asking for your help with a survey to develop a standard for clinical referral letters to improve the quality of information sent by GPs.

When finished, the clinical referral letters standard will complete our suite of transfer of care standards, and will enable hospital clinicians to reduce inappropriate referrals and better manage heavy caseloads.Working in conjunction with NHS Digital and the Royal College of Physician’s Health Informatics Unit, the PRSB held a workshop on 9 January for more than 40 patients and professionals, to discuss the information that needs to be recorded when a person is being referred for further treatment. Work on this project is essential to support the ageing population and the number of people living with long-term conditions who receive ongoing care. Our aim is to produce standards that are practical to use, provide hospital clinicians with what they need to respond to a referral, help patients get the right care and help GPs to communicate the right information.

“Good information sharing between primary and secondary care is highly beneficial for both professionals and patients,” said Dr Neill Jones of NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG, one of the clinical leads on the project. “Professionals can share and find relevant information in a timely manner, resulting in safer and more consistent care for the people receiving it. It leads to less duplication of tests for example, and means that patients can be better managed, treated more quickly and redirected to other services where necessary. Overall this standardisation will lead to better and safer care.”

Co-lead on the project, Dr Gareth Thomas of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust added: “From my experience as a clinician, getting timely, accurate information is essential so that patients can get rapid access to the right services they need.”

You can complete the survey here before it closes on 9 March 2018 . A standard will be published in spring this year.