The Royal College of Physicians has published a report that aims to streamline referral processes and improve continuity of care.

Highlighting that patients are often seen by many different clinicians during their time in hospital and the “great deal of variability in the pattern of referrals between both generalist and specialist physicians”, the College says there is  “no clear consensus on which conditions lie under the generalist and which would benefit from specialist input”.

Its Referring wisely report provides a framework for both generalist and specialist physicians to use in their day-to-day work, to “guide and rationalise their approach and treatment”.

This, it hopes, will ultimately help streamline referral patterns, helping to ease the workload for physicians whilst also preventing fragmented care for the patient.

In a climate where resources are increasingly strained and the benefits of generalist care are acknowledged, it is hoped that the findings of this report will be useful in promoting conversations regarding conditions requiring generalist versus specialist care.

“We know that streamlining referral processes is of benefit to both patients and doctors, and in the long term allows for more productive use of NHS resources. The aim of this report is to promote conversation between physicians regarding common referral patterns - with the result of improving the overall patient experience,” said RCP registrar Dr Andrew Goddard.