16 July 2021
The system used to process electronic referrals from GPs to hospitals has for the first time linked up with hospitals cross-border, in England. GPs in Powys can now send digital referrals using the Welsh Admin Portal (WAP) into three English trusts; the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, Wye Valley Trust and the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.
Before the introduction of WAP, the English hospitals had to print referrals they received, but now they have digital options available to them, providing a quicker and more thorough service for patients. The hospitals are able to send status updates back to GPs; return inappropriate referrals, and request further information electronically. And Powys GPs can respond to these requests electronically.
WAP also offers a two-way electronic pathway between the English Trusts and the Powys Commissioning Team when approval for treatment in England is required – previously this was done by printing, faxing, posting, or e-mailing the referrals for approval by the commissioning team. Referrals can also be fast tracked by being sent directly to the appropriate team – based on specialty and priority – and diverted to the commissioning team when prior approval is needed by that team. Project Support Manager, Merryl James explained, “it saves time and hassle for the patient services teams, saves time for the patient and most importantly is safer for the patient as referrals will no longer be lost or mislaid"
A training programme for the system had to be delivered remotely to users over many sessions. 179 people attended training demos, conducted via Microsoft Teams, which were followed up with practical training for all users.
Work on the WAP system continues, and it is hoped it will be installed in more hospitals across Wales throughout 2021.