Referral changes to speed up access to specialist advice | Our news

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Referral changes to speed up access to specialist advice

From this month, GPs wishing to refer a patient into some Barts Health services will first need to consult with hospital specialists in a process known as advice and guidance (A&G).

The change is being trialled across 13 specialities and could become the default for all of our services.

A&G is typically used by primary care clinicians such as GPs to get advice from hospital specialists on treatment plans, test results and the appropriateness of referrals.

The interaction can help primary care clinicians to continue to care for a patient away from hospital (in the community), or it can be converted into a referral and an outpatient appointment is organised at the hospital.

Barts Health currently receives approximately 2,500 A&G requests per month.

The number of A&G requests increased significantly during the pandemic, helping GPs to manage patients in the community and at the same time reducing unnecessary hospital appointments.

Dr Neil Ashman, Barts Health director for clinical transformation, said: “Whilst this may seem like a small change to how we run our services, A&G has a big role to play in ensuring we provide the best care first time for patients in the most appropriate setting.”

When a GP uses A&G, a reply from the hospital specialist will be received within five days, either with advice on how to manage the patient in the community, or informing the GP that an outpatient appointment will be organised by the hospital.

Changes to A&G is one of a number of ways Barts Health is transforming outpatient care to give patient patients greater control and convenience in their NHS hospital or clinic appointments.

For more information about Barts Health services, visit our website.

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