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NHS e-Referrals stumbles off starting line



New booking system for secondary care appointments is running, despite early technical problems

NHS e-Referrals, the new online systems for secondary care appointments in the NHS, is available to users to despite early problems, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has confirmed.

This follows reports that it was pulled down soon after its launch last week because of a number of technical problems. Initially there were reports of more than 30 unresolved issues, although the HSCIC website is currently acknowledging only “an issue that may affect those provider trusts with exceptionally large worklists”.

It has not provided any further detail, but a spokesperson told UKAuthority the service is now available and the organisation is monitoring its performance “around the clock”.

“Our first priority remains ensuring minimal disruption to patients and professional users,” she said.

e-Referrals has been launched as a replacement for the Choose and Book Service, which had not been used as heavily hoped since its introduction as part of the NHS National Programme for IT. It provides essentially the same service, enabling GPs to directly book patient appointments for secondary care through a centralised computer system.

The HSCIC has previously highlighted new functions it said were based on feedback from user groups.

The spokesperson added that there should be some figures on early usage available in the next few days.



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