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General Practice Bulletin

12 December 2017
Try the new GP registration application service
NHS Digital is building a service to allow GP practices to receive registration applications online. ‘Register with a GP’ is currently in trial with a limited number of practices in England. The service is designed to be as easy as possible to use for the broadest range of people.

We’re looking for feedback from GP practices about your registration processes and needs, and will use this to improve the service. Practices interested in using the service can sign up to try it via the feedback form.

To learn more about ‘Register with a GP', provide feedback or express interest in trying the service, visit
this website.
Easier for patients to book their own referral appointment
The new NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) patient booking service "Manage Your Referral" is proving very popular with patients. The new design works on tablets and phones, as well as computers, and is much easier to use. Practices should consider if a patient can book their own appointment and, if so, provide them with booking instructions available from within the system. This can save practice time, as well as putting patients in control of their healthcare as they can book, check, change or cancel their appointment.

A new
video is available explaining how to refer into a service. It shows the screens that users see with supporting commentary by e-RS professionals to explain the processes and reasoning behind the actions to be taken.
Referral Assessment Service
You can now use the NHS e-Referral Service to triage referrals before booking an appointment for patients. This can support complex clinical pathways and reduce demand for elective care services. These new services are called Referral Assessment Services (RAS).

Release 1 gave providers the ability to set up a RAS. Release 2 went live on 8 December 2017 and enables providers to publish their RAS, and referrers to make triage requests into them. At this stage, providers will need to manage the clinical assessment and the onward referral as one process ('Refer/Book Now').

Release 3 is scheduled for January 2018, and will provide the additional ability for providers to manage the clinical assessment and the onward referral as separate processes ('Accept and Refer/Book Later').

Further information about release 2 is available on the
website. This includes two learning modules for referrers and providers covering:
  • the changes specific to each user
  • how the screens will look and how to process referrals
  • managing worklists
  • further information.

Who’s Who in NHS Digital
I’m Peter Short, the senior clinician for ‘Digital Transformation of General Practice’ at NHS Digital. A full-time NHS doctor since 1983, I have 28 years’ experience as a principal in General Practice, and am now a portfolio/locum GP.

2018 looks like another year of significant pressure and change for General Practice, with demand increasing on all sides. I lead the small clinical team that advises the programmes maintaining contracts for current GP systems, developing new capabilities in line with National Information Board priorities and the GP Forward View commitments. Like every other area of care, budgets and capacity will be under strain and conflicting demands, but we are strengthening our links to representative General Practice contribution and influence.

Our primary aim remains to support the service you provide, whilst being mindful of the need to support new ways of working with innovative, safe and reliable systems.
Best wishes for 2018.

Follow Peter on Twitter @prdshort or contact him at