Sunderland GP Alliance has launched streamlined referrals and care pathway guidance using Map Referrals v2.7 to every GP Practice across the city, covering nearly 285,000 patients in the Sunderland area.

Mark Beadling, Project Manager overseeing the successful implementation of the project at Sunderland GP Alliance said: “The Sunderland GP Alliance Map Referrals programme is well underway and some exciting progress is already being made in the reviewing of local care pathways, which include Gastroenterology, Cardiovascular Disease, and other clinical priority areas”  Mark continues: “Map Referrals gives our local GPs and healthcare professionals the power to improve decision making and referral quality at the point of care. Using Map Referrals, healthcare professionals have instant access to locally customised pathways, centrally managed referral forms and clinical information during a consultation. Integrated within the clinical workflow, healthcare professionals have relevant information at their fingertips and can save information directly to the patient’s record.”

What makes Map Referrals particularly attractive to the Vanguard site is that they can link it with EMIS Web, and also with other local administrative systems. One such system is their Individual Funding Request (IFR) platform. This means that when a GP is following the referral guidance within an online care pathway and determines that the patient meets the criteria for treatment that currently falls outside of care routinely provided by the NHS, the GP can immediately be directed to the platform in a single click to make an IFR. Furthermore, should a referral be required then the referral process can be started instantly with Map Referrals which is integrated with the GPs clinical system.

With NHS resources coming under ever greater pressures every year, ensuring that treatment and care is focused where it can make the biggest difference is a key part of making best use of these resources. This is a key challenge for all NHS organisations, and a prime focus for Sunderland GP Alliance. The alternative to having policies of this kind easily available online and linked to care pathways is to leave each decision to individual GPs, to manage individual dilemmas without easy access to guidance and without the context of the health needs of the wider population.

Map Referrals v2.7 has been rolled out to all GP Practices across the Sunderland area. GPs have begun accessing a wealth of locally customised care pathways for urgent referrals and 2ww, long term conditions, and guidance on the assessment and initial investigations for patients with abnormal test results.