Referral management is a way of monitoring, directing and controlling patient referrals, with the aim of ensuring that the most clinically effective and cost-effective outcomes are achieved, while at the same time respecting patients’ rights to choice.
Making a good quality referral that includes all the key clinical information will help to make your patient's hospital consultation more effective.
Much of it seems very obvious but it remains surprising how often key areas are omitted. Giving adequate, accurate and relevant information in a referral is an obligation of all doctors; see Good Medical Practice (GMC).
Remember to include:
- relevant medical history
- blood and imaging results
- current medication
- medication that has been tried
- any drug allergies.
Keep up to date with NICE guidance and local clinical pathways – a number of referrals are sent back from the Camden, Haringey and Islington Referral Support Service (CHI RSS) for review because they do not appear to have followed these. Common clinical areas for referrals being sent back include:
- LUTS in men
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- renal failure (CKD 3 in particular).