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The website, www.gpreferral.ie, allows GPs with special training in specific areas, such a minor surgery and dermatology, to register and establish a profile of the type of procedures they are skilled to undertake.
A GP can register to use the system to allow them to search for a colleague in their area to undertake the required referral.
Set up by Irish company MedSource, the system enables tracking of all inter-GP referrals.
According to Ms Arlene Fitzsimons of gpreferral.ie, the service has recently launched and is open to both public and private patients.
“Forty GPs have registered to date and we are encouraging more GPs to register with us,” she told the Medical Independent (MI).
“Up until now, GPs usually refer to other practices by giving the patient a note with details asking them to contact the practice and this works well, but it doesn’t enable tracking of inter-GP referral.”
Users of the GP referral system include members of the Primary Care Surgical Association (PCSA), Irish Association of Dermatologists (IAD) and Family Planning Association of Ireland (FPAI), among others.
The system works by allowing GPs to refer a patient to another special interest GP, which triggers an email to the special interest GP with details of the new appointment.
The patient is sent a text with details of the appointment and a contact number if they need to cancel unexpectedly. The system also facilitates the special interest GP who has received notice of an appointment to change the date and time if necessary.
GPs with special interests can register on the referral system free of charge for the first six months, with an annual charge of €150 thereafter. GPs who wish to refer but not receive patients can register for free.