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NHS e-Referral Service: What is it and why does it matter?

Charlotte Jee | Aug. 17, 2015
The NHS e-Referral Service has been beset by glitches since it launched in June. A seemingly minor setback perhaps - but here's why we should be worried.

However he admitted the e- service is a vital component of the various systems that make up what he dubbed the NHS's "digital national infrastructure."

Fast forward to today and problems with the system still have not gone away. Three new issues have been reported to the HSCIC since a new version of software was released last weekend on 7-8 August.

The centre has apologised 'for any inconvenience that these issues will inevitably have caused'.

However, as Sargeant suggested, a major concern is the effect early negative experiences will have had on patients and GPs: they can hardly have helped to increase adoption, which is the ultimate goal.

As IT journalist Tony Collins put it, "GPs do not exist to be guinea pigs for testing and providing feedback on new national systems such as the e-Referral Service."

NHS-watchers will keep a close eye on the system and will surely be hoping the fixes being implemented now will finally iron out the new system's teething problems for once and for all.

The last thing the NHS needs - in terms of reputation, cost and most importantly patient safety - is yet another failing IT project. Unfortunately, as it stands, that is what they have got.


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