Clinical referral information

The PRSB is working to improve the quality of information sent in GP referral letters, so that hospital consultants can reduce inappropriate referrals and better manage heavy caseloads.


This work is essential given the ageing population and the number of people living with long-term conditions who need ongoing care. Currently there are also differences between GP systems and GP practices in the clinical content of referrals, with multiple templates in use. Although appointments can be booked online through the NHS Digital e-referrals service (NHS e-RS), many hospitals are still receiving paper letters.

Working with clinicians and patients, the PRSB will work to develop evidence-based standardised headings for referral letters and implementation guidance for electronic referrals from GPs to hospitals. 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.

The scope of the project will be confirmed through discussion with stakeholders, with a project initiation document produced to confirm the final scope. Following a period of evidence gathering, we will hold a workshop, survey and consultation process. We expect a standard to be delivered in the first quarter of 2018.

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