Advice and Guidance

By William Graves

We’re now offering Advice and Guidance (A&G) to referrers as part of our community dermatology services commissioned by Herts Valleys, Bassetlaw, and South Warwickshire CCGs. The facility is accessible via the NHS e-Referral Service, and by providing primary care providers access to specialist clinical advice, we can help clinicians ‘get it right first time’ (GIRFT) with regards to their patient's care.

There’s disparity between hospital referrals nationally, suggesting that some patient's referrals could be managed more effectively. A report published by NHS England in August 2017 states that according to NHS Digital data on current A&G usage, GPs refer only 23% of patients to secondary care following receipt of specialist A&G. 74% of patients are referred to secondary care, where no response is received.

A&G improves integration and helps to ensure that patients get the care they need in the right place, at the right time, and as quickly as possible. It’s part of a wider project to develop new ways of working to manage the increased demand for elective care, and referrers can seek advice on treatment plans and interpretation of results, and receive guidance on the appropriateness of referrals and tests.

The service benefits all involved. For patients, A&G can help avoid unnecessary and inconvenient trips to the hospital. This is because, with the right guidance, their GP may be able treat their condition more quickly, closer to home. If a referral is necessary, referrers can ensure that their patient is referred to correct provider first time around. Overall, the patient will likely have more control over their care, and have a better experience and outcome as a result.

Where referrers are concerned, A&G means less administrative work, improved interpretation of results, and better long-term outcomes for patients. It affords education and supports informed decision making while nurturing positive working relationships with discipline specialists.

A&G provides primary care providers access to specialist clinical advice.

For care providers, A&G improves referral quality and simplifies triaging processes. It ensures that patients referred to their care are the most suitable patients for the service being provided. The capacity of services is improved, and providers can greater specialise their services and best provide for the patients who need it.

Commissioners benefit too, as A&G improves the outcomes of clinical pathways and ensures the utilisation of the most cost-effective delivery methods.

If you have any questions about A&G, please do not hesitate to get in touch via our ‘contact us’ page.

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