A strategic review of the Integrated Care Board referral support services function across North Central London has found that take-up varies significantly across boroughs and specialties. Some general practices have used the services actively, while others rarely use the teams for referrals.
As a result, we are working towards a standardised approach and will be supporting practices to manage referrals through their own systems. We will be closing down the ICB-led referral support services (RSS) in a phased approach, with the service not accepting any new referrals after 31 January 2024 and ceasing operations entirely on 31 March 2024.
To make sure the transition to the new arrangements happens smoothly, we are working in partnership with colleagues in general practice, secondary care, and community providers.
We are supporting those practices who currently use the RSS with a phased move to managing their own referrals. This support will include guides, training sessions and webinars as well as comprehensive online guidance.
GPs will still be expected to follow best practice in referrals in line with the guidance and policies on the NCL ICB GP website, including the Evidence-Based Interventions and Clinical Standards (EBICS) policy for patients needing a procedure where certain criteria or a threshold must be met before funding is approved.
The new arrangements will ensure consistent processes are in place across all NCL general practices, contributing to fair and high quality services for all patients.
Patients should feel confident that referrals to secondary and community care providers will continue, just following a different process.