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Changes to NCL ICB Referral Support Service agreed

NHS North Central London Integrated Care Board (NCL ICB) has undertaken a strategic review of the current referral support service (RSS) function across NCL, making several recommendations.

There are three teams that provide referral support to general practice and patients across NCL – Barnet RSS; Enfield RSS; and Camden, Haringey and Islington RSS.

Each service supports referrers to make sure referrals to secondary and community care are appropriate. The teams support patients to have appointments booked as quickly as possible, providing a choice of secondary and community care providers that are clinically appropriate.

A key recommendation from the strategic review was to work towards a standardised approach to referrals across all boroughs – Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington – and all specialties. As such, the intention of NCL ICB is to wind down the current ICB-led RSS over the next three months, in a phased approach. The service will then cease operations entirely on 31 March 2024.

Take up of the current service varies across NCL. Some referrers utilise the support of the RSS teams actively, while others rarely use the teams for referrals.

Risks that were identified as part of the review are being mitigated through a detailed implementation plan, that is being developed in collaboration with stakeholders across general practice, secondary care and community providers to ensure patient safety.

Patients should feel confident that referrals to secondary and community care providers will continue, just following a different process.