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.

Import Information for GP Referrals

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 and ensures that your patients are seen promptly and have the information they need.

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

Just like optometry practices, all GPs have an ODS code and we normally access this 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 on 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 using our hybrid mail provided.  A covering letter is added to your referral which is 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, then they have been sent to our providers for the GP's attention.  Again, if a referral is urgent, you should ensure that the GP has received the information.  When sending via Docmail letters are typically available to view in GP systems the same day.  If we have to post the letters, this may take up to to three working days after submission for the letter to be received.

No GP, or issues with registration

We do occasionally have issues where patients believe that they are registered at a GP but there is no GP record on their NHS file, or the GP record is outdated, for example the practice may have closed.

If we are unable to send a referral to a GP because of the above reasons we will email the clinical lead of the submitting optometry practice as well as 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 you are uncertain if a referral has been sent - then you can contact the support desk for further assistance.