The NHS e-Referral Service (NHS e-RS) has hit 100 million bookings since it was launched in 2005 under the name of the NHS Choose and Book Service.
The service, which allows patients or clinicians to book appointments in hospital or other care settings online, is currently booking around 400,000 referrals every week.
In October 2018, all 150 acute trusts in England completed the switch to NHS e-RS, meaning that all first outpatient appointments must now be booked through the system.
Dr Stephen Miller, national medical director of the NHS e-RS at NHS Digital said hitting 100 million bookings was a ‘major landmark’ for the service.
He added: “Coming off the back of the recent switch over to a fully electronic referral process for GP to consultant-led outpatient appointments, this really demonstrates that improved patient outcomes are fully at the heart of new digital technology.
“We now need to focus on expanding e-RS use so that it becomes the established way of making all referrals, ensuring that all patients all experience the same high-quality of referrals into NHS care.”
It is hoped e-RS will lead to improved care as patients can be sure that they are being referred to the right person at the right time, in the right place, which cuts down on the chances of being booking into inappropriate appointments.
Dr Simon Eccles, chief clinical information officer for health and care, said: “The NHS e-Referrals service works safely and quickly, not only improving safety and empowering patients but also saving the NHS money.
“This is an important milestone as we develop the long-term plan for the NHS, ensuring we are in a world leading position in using information technology to join up services, reduce errors, speed the adoption of new innovations, and give patients control over their own care.”
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