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More GPs are making e-referrals to hospitals nationally than ever before, with the number of general e-referrals now representing 35 per cent of all referrals for outpatient services as of February 2019, new data shows.
Following the launch of a pilot e-referral project in 2011 creating a pathway between GPs and hospitals for electronic referrals, e-referrals have continued to rise and in April alone totalled more than 30,000.
Data shows that the Ireland East Hospital Group received the most referrals of any Hospital Group in April (6,300), followed by the Saolta University Health Care Group (5,700).
At the end of 2018, University Hospital Kerry was the top e-referring hospital nationally, followed by the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, and the Coombe Women’s and Infants University Hospital, Dublin.
St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny, South Tipperary General Hospital and University Hospital Galway were among the bottom e-referring hospitals nationally.
More than 2,500 GPs nationwide had made general e-referrals to April 2019, up from 1,200 in January 2017.
As developments in e-referrals continue, a national roll-out of the endoscopy e-referral project is now planned.
“An extension of the endoscopy pilot at St Vincent’s University Hospital has meant that Beaumont Hospital, University of Limerick Hospitals and St James’s Hospital are now live with new e-referral. The form is now ICGP-approved and we are currently planning the national roll-out,” according to website www.ehealthireland.ie.
Cancer e-referrals data on the website shows that almost 4,000 cancer e-referrals were made by GPs in April, around 75 per cent of which were breast cancer clinic referrals.
The remainder were for pigmented lesions (500), prostate cancer (276) and lung cancer (168).
Meanwhile, general e-referrals for radiology are continuing to increase following a successful pilot for GP referrals.