Patients on the Isle of Wight will now get faster confirmation of their outpatient appointments as the Isle of Wight NHS Trust has now moved to electronic referrals for all Consultants.
The changes mean patients can choose an appointment at a time and date that suits them. Doctors and patients can see in advance what services are available and how quickly the patient can be seen.
Patients can now book or change their appointment online at www.nhs.uk/referrals using their mobile phone or tablet which will save the GP practice time and cut the NHS’s phone bill.
The electronic referrals system helps to relieve the burden on GPs by cutting down on their paperwork and reducing the number of patients who go back to them to find out what is happening with their hospital appointment. The system also cuts down on the risk of letters going missing and doctors will be able to track their patients’ referrals better.
It is also estimated that the system could reduce the rate of patients missing appointments by half and will save £50 million across the whole NHS.
Dr Barbara Stuttle CBE, Director of Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health Professionals & Community Services from Isle of Wight NHS Trust said:
“This is an important step for the provision of an improved service for patients and for their GPs. Cutting down on the amount of paperwork in the NHS frees up time for doctors to see patients.”
Dr Michele Legg, NHS Isle of Wight CCG Chair, from Tower House GP practice in Ryde said:
“This new booking facility will help to speed up the appointment system for patients. It should also save GPs and their Practice time. It is particularly welcome that this initiative allows patients to have more control over their appointment with a Consultant but also enables the GP Practice to check on progress with an appointment.”
Dr Stephen Miller, National Medical Director of the e-RS programme within NHS Digital, said:
“The NHS e-Referral Service helps to relieve the burden on GPs by cutting down on their paperwork and reducing the number of patients who go back to them to find out what is happening with their hospital appointment. The system also reduces the risk of letters going missing and allows doctors to more easily track their patients’ referrals.”