A sharp rise in the number of GPs using Barts Health’s advice and guidance (A&G) service is helping to ensure patients are seen and treated in the right place, at the right time and as quickly as possible.
A&G allows one clinician to seek advice from another using the NHS e-Referral Service, or e-RS. It is typically used by primary care clinicians such as GPs to seek advice from hospital specialists on treatment plans and referrals.
The number of requests for A&G has increased significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic, helping GPs to manage conditions in the community and in turn reducing hospital appointments and the risk of redirected referrals.
In February alone, 2,300 requests were made to Barts Health, an increase of almost 200% on the same period last year.
The North East London Health and Care Partnership, formerly the East London Health and Care Partnership, has the highest number of requests of any London integrated care system (ICS) with the majority of these made to Barts Health clinicians.
91% of requests in February 2021 were responded to within five days, up from 83% 12 months ago.
Dr Neil Ashman, the chair of Barts Health’s outpatient transformation board, said: “There many benefits to using A&G: it gives GPs and patients access to advice from hospital specialists; it improves the appropriateness of referrals helping to avoid unnecessary appointments and, crucially, it gets patients access to the information and support they need more quickly.
“We’re proud of the strides we have made to our A&G services and we look forward to working with our partners to further develop this to the benefit of patients in north east London.”