The NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) programme has introduced Referral Assessment Services (RAS), which now allow secondary care providers to:
- assess the Clinical Referral Information from the GP/referrer
- decide on the most appropriate onward clinical pathway
- contact the patient to discuss choice (if an elective referral)
- arrange an appointment, where needed
- return the triage request to the original referrer with advice, if an onward referral isn't needed
This new facility supports complex care pathways, such as gastroenterology and cardiology, where it's not always clear whether a patient needs a consultant appointment or a diagnostic test. A RAS set up by the provider will ensure patients' referrals are triaged correctly.