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April 2013
Fast GP referrals take off
GPs connecting with new digital links to hospitals  


Nearly all Wales' 470 GP practices are now requesting hospital outpatient appointments for their patients online, and sending safe electronic referral letters at the click of a button instead of preparing and writing a paper referral report.


GPs in Wales are using the e-referral system, known as the Welsh Clinical Communications Gateway, to send around 30,000 hospital referrals each month.


Learn more about e-referrals and the Welsh Clinical Communication Gateway on our NWIS website.


NWIS in Action
Here's some more good news about e-referrals

Many GPs at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board are praising the benefits from e-referrals.


Dr David Morris, a GP from Connah's Quay and one of the first GPs to start using the system, says, "most doctors do the referrals straight into it, very often before the patient leaves the consulting room. The patients are delighted to see that their referral has arrived at the other end."  

In Wrexham, Dr Marcus Asprou, who has a special interest in Orthopaedics, receives on average 300 referrals a month. He uses Welsh Clinicial Communications Gateway to triage these referrals electronically. He can then re-direct electronically to a hospital if needed or can suggest an appropriate course of action through the Primary Care service.
"It is a lot quicker and has made life more efficient". Dr Asprou says of e-referrals, "It is also easy to audit and for individual GPs to see the smooth flow of information."
Reference Data gets upgrade
And searching gets easier

The systems and services of NHS Wales allow GPs to refer patients to hospitals, give consultants test results, provide information about what conditions are most common and where, and so much more.


They also have one important thing in common. They rely in some way on information and standards provided by the National Reference Data Service (NRDS).


The service, designed and managed by NWIS, has recently been updated to include a new website, and new administration features.


The new website makes it easier for these users to access their required information (such as proper codes or figures), and to make a requests for information. It has been tested by health boards over the last month, and has received very positive feedback. The next stage of NRDS 'phase 2' will involve improving the quality of data, and establishing more national coding standards


Keeping it safe
Portal allows secure exchange of sensitive info  


A service offered by NWIS allowing the safe exchange person-idenfiable files and organisationally sensitive information is being expanded.


The Secure File Sharing Portal is having an additional feature (or 'add-on module') to allow the information exchange to happen via Microsoft Outlook email, to any recipient.


The secure file sharing portal was launched in April 2012, and has had over 2000 users. The original service involved both the sender and receiver needing to be registered users, whereas the new feature, currently under testing, makes it accessible to more people, with only the sender needing to be registered.


This enables instructions for accessing the file to be sent to anyone, including other organisations and individual citizens.


Other organisations including Local Authorities, Police and the Fire Service, have all shown an interest in using the service.

NWIS in numbers
My Health Online sign up continues

More than two hundred GP clinics in Wales now are hooked into My Health Online giving patients the opportunity to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and update their general details such as change of address.

NWIS in Words
"My staff think e-referrals, access to test results and other new IT being introduced in the surgery, is brilliant.
It reduces the number of phone calls, it's safer and more confidential than faxing information which can sometimes go to the wrong surgery, it's easier to find information and it's a much quicker process.


As a GP, the option to see the results the same day and phone the patient with important results is a huge benefit and reduces stress for the patients."


Dr Terry Stuart - Cowbridge & Vale Medical Practice

New PEDW version
Database shows updated activity
The latest version of the Patient Episode Database for Wales (PEDW) online, which shows a breakdown of hospital admissions, has been published.
PEDW, which is collated, validated and stored by the NHS Wales Informatics Service is a key source of information for the Welsh Government to produce guidance and statistics.  The database contains all inpatient and day case activity undertaken in NHS Wales plus data on Welsh residents treated in English Trusts.


For the first time this year, information can be viewed on a Local Health Board basis, showing hospital activity for diagnosis and procedure split by each Local Health Board provider in Wales.
United for health
Local authorities and NHS Wales investing in community informatics
A national procurement, run by Bridgend County Borough Council in partnership with NWIS, toward a Framework Contract for a single Community Care Information Solution, for Social Care, Community Health and Mental Health services in Wales has gone ahead.
The contract will support closer working between Local Authorities and NHS organisations in Wales to deliver high quality, people-focused, local, integrated health and social care, in line with Welsh Government strategies and policies.
Bridgend is procuring on behalf of the Welsh Systems Consortium who represent eight local authorities in Wales.
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