RAS on e-Referral
Referral Assessment Service (RAS)
A number of specialities have recently moved their clinics across to a RAS in order to help triage referrals in a timely manner and to prevent patient’s attending unnecessary outpatient appointments when not required.
What is a RAS?
The RAS allows hospital trusts to:
- assess the Clinical Referral Information from the GP/referrer
- decide on the most appropriate onward clinical pathway
- contact the patient to discuss choice (if an elective referral)
- arrange an appointment, where needed
- return the triage request to the original referrer with advice, if an onward referral isn't needed
What happens with a RAS referral?
The process is no different and referrals should be forwarded to the Referral Service in the usual way.
How do I know if a patient’s referral has been submitted via a RAS?
Under the ‘category’ heading on e-Ref, it will show as “Triage Request”
How will I know when the hospital has responded?
Under the ‘category’ hearing, the outcomes will change to one of the following:
“Triage Response” – this means that the UBRN has been triaged and the consultant has returned this with advice as onward referral isn't needed
“Triaged – To be shortlisted” – This means the referral has been triaged and the patient has been shortlisted for an outpatient appointment. You will be able to view any triage comments from the consultant by accessing this as advised below.
How do I view a response?
Click on the UBRN and select ‘View Request’. You will be presented with a ‘Triage Request Details’ page and the triage comments will be stated at the bottom.
A letter will be sent out to the patient once their referral has been submitted via a RAS. The letter explains to the patient what is happening with their referral; what a Referral Assessment Service is and what the next steps are.
Will there be any information to give to patients who have had a request sent to a RAS?
Initially, there will be no printable material for a GP to give the patient when they have sent a request for triage as there are no actions for the patient to take at this point (e.g. no booking required).
It is vitally important that the referring organisation informs the patient of the situation - that their GP has sent clinical information to either a hospital or triage service, at which it will be clinically assessed and that service will either contact the patient to book an appointment or advise the GP of alternative action.
As a referrer, how do I know when to use Advice and Guidance and when to make a triage request to a RAS?
From a clinical point of view, it will depend on the intent of the referrer.
If the intention is to refer the patient, but either the referrer is not sure of the correct pathway (e.g. diagnostic test or outpatient appointment), or the local pathway is via a triage service (e.g. MSK referrals), then a RAS triage request would be appropriate.
On the other hand, if the referrer is unsure whether the patient needs a referral at all, but just needs some clinical management advice, then the Advice and Guidance route would be preferable.
What else do GPs or practice staff need to know?
Patient’s contact details must be confirmed. This is to ensure the provider is able to contact the patient if an appointment is required.
When does the Referral to Treatment time clock start for a patient referred into a RAS?
The RTT clock will commence from the date the triage request is received on the ‘Referrals for Review’ worklist, which will only be after the required clinical information has been attached to the request.
As a GP practice, what can I do if a patient contacts us with a query relating to a RAS triage request?
If a patient’s referral has been sent to a triage provider service, it is then up to that provider to make contact with the patient to arrange further care, or to return the request to that GP with advice. If there has been a delay, which you or your patient consider unacceptable, then you might like to advise the patient to contact the provider. The instructions on how to find the contact details can be found in the referrer overview document, on the e-Referral website.
On the rare occasion that a provider has cancelled a patient’s booked appointment and requested a RAS triage instead; when a patient tries to book an appointment online or by the National Telephone Appointment Line with their booking details, currently they may be directed back to the GP to obtain the provider information.
What should I do if my triage request made through my integrated GP system, comes back with advice and the specialty needs changing? (for example, I made a request to Gynaecology and the request is returned advising that it should have gone to a Urology service)?
Some integrated GP systems do not facilitate the changing of a specialty in a referral (as the original specialty chosen will have been coded in the patient’s record and cannot be changed). We recommend if this happens, that a new referral is created to the changing specialty to avoid confusion for the ‘new’ receiving service and to, maintain a clinically correct record in the GP clinical system.
Where can I find further information?
• Sign up to e-RS bulletins to receive up to date information on system changes
• Review the system Help information (N3 connection required to use this link)
• Email email@example.com or use the contact us page to ask any questions.