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Abstract

Reducing inappropriate referrals to secondary care: our experiences with the ENT Emergency clinic

In the current financial climate faced by the NHS, it is important that we reduce the amount of inappropriate referrals made to secondary care specialties. ENT Emergency Clinics are one-stop clinics provided by many UK ENT departments to allow more rapid access to ENT services from primary care. However, many referrals to these clinics were considered to be inappropriate, overloading the clinic and delaying referrals to more specialist clinics. We conducted a service improvement project through introduction of referral guidelines and liaising with local GPs. Methods We carried out an initial audit of ENT referrals over a onemonth period, which suggested that 31% (69/225) of referrals were inappropriate. We developed a guideline referral proforma that included six specific conditions and details of subspecialist clinics available. This was circulated among GPs and A&E doctors and backed up by hospital teaching sessions. Two months later we repeated the audit. Results Following introduction of guidelines there was a significant reduction in inappropriate referrals from 31% (69/225) to 16% (28/179), p


Author(s):

Sridhayan Mahalingam



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