Referring to a GP

OPERA enables you to refer to a GP for care under their management.  This differs from our GP notifications, which are sent to inform the GP that a procedure or referral to HES has been undertaken.

Important Information for GP Referrals

The middle tab may be changed to an urgent option, to do this, select the 2nd option (highlighted in green).  

We make every effort to get your referral to your GP and this is described below.  However, even when delivered electronically, GP practices are busy places and correspondence may not be acted upon immediately.

Therefore if your referral to a GP is urgent,  you should print a copy and provide it to the patient, asking them to arrange an urgent appointment with their registered GP.  This is an important failsafe element that ensures that your patients are seen promptly and have the necessary information.

If you have any doubt that the patient understands the need to attend, you should call the GP practice and inform them of the need for an appointment.

Delivering referrals to a GP Practice

Like optometry practices, all GPs have an ODS code, which we normally access via the NHS PDS record.  If we can find a GP code we will:

a) First use our DocMan electronic GP letter system. You will see DocMan GP in our directory of services. Please ignore the travel times, the referral will be sent to the patient's GP.  A successful DocMan send looks like this:

You can see that a full reference number is provided after the date.  If we cannot send via this route (usually because a practice has an incorrect DocMan setting), we will then:

b) Send the referral in the post to the GP address on the ODS record.  A cover letter is added to your referral, then printed and posted. Again, the service provides a reference number, and will look like this:

Checking Delivery

If your referrals have a reference number like those above, they have been sent to our providers for the GP's attention.  Again, please ensure the GP receives the information if a referral is urgent.  When sending via Docmail, letters are typically available to view in GP systems the same day.  If we have to post the letters, it may take up to three working days after submission for the letter to be received.

No GP, or issues with registration

We occasionally have issues where patients believe they are registered at a GP, but there is no GP record on their NHS file, or the GP record needs to be updated; for example, the practice may have closed.

If we cannot send a referral to a GP for the above reasons. In that case, we will email the clinical lead of the submitting optometry practice and the user who has submitted the referral to inform them that they need to identify another means of sending the referral.  You will also see an error message on the record.

Further information

If you need any assistance or help with GP referrals or are still determining if a referral has been sent, you can contact the support desk for further assistance.

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