111 referral standard

Across the UK, 111 services are becoming the first point of contact for urgent care and are essential in ensuring that people are referred to the most appropriate service safely and efficiently. In England the NHS Long Term Plan sets out to ensure patients get the care they need, fast and to relieve pressure on A&E departments by referring people to the most appropriate service.

The PRSB has created a standard to support clear and concise information flows between the 111 referrer and the receiving services and professionals or clinicians to support safe and effective care.

The standard

PRSB was commissioned by the NHSE Transformation Directorate, working in partnership with NHS England and Improvement and NHS Digital to produce the 111 referral standard as part of the Booking and Referral Standard programme.

The standard defines the information that should be shared from 111 or 999 services when a person is referred onto another service. 

It also defines the information for a post event message (PEM) to inform a person’s GP of their contact with 111 services. This is subset of the 111 referral to give GPs an effective summary, and is sent after all contact with a few exceptions, including if the referral is to the GP, or the call was just to seek information. GPs should not confuse this PEM, which is just for their information, with a 111 referral to GP, which they must action.

These will replace the current referral messages which are poorly regarded and little used.

The standard applies to:

  • All 111 and 999 service referrals to wherever the person goes next.
  • Referrals through 111 online, call handler or clinical assessment services and 999 services, and is not specific to any triage system.
  • The standard is UK-wide and developed in consultation with a wide range of professionals from all four nations, including from 111 services, receiving services, IT suppliers and people who use services.
  • All age groups including children.

The standard does not apply to transfers between 111 services (e.g. across a country border) or between 111 and 999 services.

Pilot testing and implementation

The Booking and Referral Standard programme (BaRS) are running a pilot for 111 to Emergency Department with both booking of slots in ED and 111 referral information.  PRSB are supporting the pilot and will be gathering feedback to improve the standard and the supporting materials.  Rollout for 111 to ED is expected by the end of March 2023. For more information on the standard, please see the BaRS website.

BaRS are starting on implementation plans and pilots for 111 bookings and referrals to other destination services, initially engaging with dentistry, community pharmacy and urgent community response teams.

Endorsement and approval

The standard is published as a final draft (V0.3) while endorsement and approval of an Information Standards Notice (ISN) are in progress.  Details of endorsers and the ISN will be published on this page when complete.

Version 0.3:

The information models shown here are also available in JSON and HTML formats on request. Please contact us at support@theprsb.org.

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Supporting documentation

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    (Detailed guidance, specific to the sections and elements of the standard, are included in the standard)
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  • Safety case and Hazard log: coming soon
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To give a clearer idea of how the standard works in practice, PRSB have created examples of different scenarios, each with easy views for a professional or person.
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IHRIM record correction guidance

Despite vigilance when filing information in records, mistakes can occur. The Institute of Health Records and Information Management has guidance to support professionals in making corrections following errors.