Restarting hospital outpatient referrals by GPs

Content originally from Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership

Over the past few months our hospitals have been working hard to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and ensure the safety and quality of services for all patients. Just like the rest of the NHS, our number-one priority has been ensuring that all those who need urgent care – not just those with coronavirus – have been able to get it when they need it.

Combined with the need to avoid unnecessary contact to reduce the spread of the virus, this had meant that some non-urgent appointments and surgeries have been postponed, and others delivered differently using technology. We appreciate how frustrating and worrying this will have been for many people and we are now preparing to gradually increase some of the routine activity at NHS trusts and community providers. 

This will also mean accepting referrals from GP pratices. Such referrals will be rescheduled and prioritised according to clinical need and length of wait. 

Patients will be asked to attend hospital for planned care only when it is really necessary. As far as possible, appointments will continue to be offered using remote services such as a video or phone consultation. The local NHS will ask people who do need to go to hospital for planned care to take some steps to ensure they can get the care they need in an environment that keeps them, as well as staff and other patients, safe.