Letters Too many referral forms?

Hail, universal referral form

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d285 (Published 19 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d285
  1. Marcus J Baw, GP registrar1
  1. 1Wigan, UK
  1. marcusbaw{at}gmail.com

Having spent nine months collating an electronic repository of local referral forms, I found that there are indeed too many referral forms.1

The repository was my attempt at dealing with the difficulty of maintaining stock of the right forms by having a library of scanned or electronic versions on each practice computer for use as and when. Forms are listed alphabetically on a locally hosted web page, and clicking on a title brings a form up instantly for printing. Updates are automatically cascaded out to everyone in the practice.

Collecting the forms and organising them was instructive, demonstrating the large number of forms but also highlighting several referral services that have ended with their referral forms still circulating. Locally around 10 separate services treat mild depression and anxiety—is this choice or waste?

In local views of Map of Medicine referral information can seemingly be integrated into care pathways, but it took three months for one referral form to be included, so I did it myself. Theoretically, Map of Medicine is a good place to store referral forms, but there may be neither the will nor the money to do so quickly.

Our 67 local referral forms, with their attendant pathways, guidances, and leaflets, take up 57.4 Mbytes of space. Bring on the universal referral form—a blank sheet of paper on which a clinical letter is written.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d285


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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