Referring patients

The Trust recognises and supports the use of the NHS e-Referral Service for receiving referrals for outpatient appointments (including fast track referrals and endoscopy procedures). 

The system provides a full directory of all the secondary care services available under Free Choice via the Directory of Services as well as those services locally commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups. GPs and practice staff can direct the patient to use the e-Referral appointments line or the internet where they are unable to complete the booking themselves. This identifies location of services and is indicative of waiting times.

You can access service-specific guidance to help shortlist the most appropriate services and highlight any helpful preliminary investigations. Advice and guidance from specialists can be sought prior to referral, supporting the development of better referral pathways and closer collaboration with secondary care colleagues.

Increased referral security 

The system gives patients confidence that the referral information reaches the hospital. GPs and practice staff can track the progress of a patient’s referral through the e-Referral Service.  The information is protected by a series of stringent access controls and information governance.

No appointments visible for booking? 

Whilst every effort is made to ensure enough capacity is available to see all patients there are occasions when appointment slots are unavailable.  In this situation please use the 'defer to provider' functionality within the e-Referral Service.  We will contact the patient within four days and arrange a suitable appointment.

Other referrals 

For services not available for direct booking through NHS e-Referral Service or for referrers who do not use e-Referral, please send all referrals to the Referral and Booking Management Centre using one of the following methods:

  • Email referrals to
  • FAX paper referrals can be faxed the Referral Booking Management Centre on 0191 445 2914 

  • 2ww fast track referrals can be faxed to 0191 482 0360

  • Paper referrals should be clearly addressed to the Referral & Booking Management Centre, Bensham Hospital, Saltwell Road, Gateshead, NE8 4YL 

Contact us

If you have difficulty finding the service you need on NHS e-Referral Service or where to book an appointment please contact the Directory of Service Team on 0191 445 3231

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

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