Please see below for the latest primary care updates. 

Patient referral and appointment queries

Patients should contact our outpatient appointments call centre if they have any questions about their care. This includes information about referrals, appointments, and test results.

If the team is unable to answer a patient’s question, they will forward the call to the relevant service.

The call centre can be contacted by calling: 020 7443 9757. It is open Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), 8am-6pm.

New RFL website launches

After months of development and extensive engagement with a diverse range of people with different user needs, our new website is now live. Thank you to all primary care colleagues who shared their feedback.

A dedicated section has been created for GPs on the site, incorporating what you told us you would like to see. You can view this by clicking ‘For GPs’ at the top of the website on the right-hand side by clicking here.

This section includes the latest diagnostic turnaround times, GP bypass numbers for the Royal Free Hospital, contact details to follow up imaging and blood test results and some referral information.

It also includes links to other useful information such as our patient advice and liaison services, patient transport, our patient portal, finding a consultant and a service.

On some of our service pages you will be able to find generic contact details for services and referral information which is not in the GP section. Some consultant profiles have their NHS email addresses or contact details for their secretaries.

Launching the new website is just the beginning — we will constantly review and evolve it, seek feedback, listen to users, and make changes where they are needed. If you have any feedback, please let us know by emailing: rf.gpliaison@nhs.net

Gillian Smith appointed chief medical officer

We are pleased to announce that Gillian Smith has been appointed to the substantive role of chief medical officer of the RFL.

Gillian has been the interim group chief medical officer since 2022 and was previously medical director of the Royal Free Hospital. A consultant urologist by background, she has had a range of clinical and professional leadership experience with a focus on improvement and service transformation.

Reminder: changes to adult gastroenterology referrals

The RFL has changed the way direct access adult gastroenterology referrals are made.

GPs are reminded to refer Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital patients to the gastroenterology clinical assessment service via e-RS and not by email.

Referrals will be triaged by a gastroenterologist who will request the endoscopic procedure on the trust’s electronic patient record. The patient will be booked for their procedure and the results communicated to both patient and GP via letter, once a consultant has reviewed the report and any histology and biopsies are taken. The gastroenterology service will arrange on going care or discharge the patient from the service as appropriate.

If you have any queries please contact Eleanor Brothwood, service manager, on: Eleanor.brothwood@nhs.net

Lung function reporting changes

The way lung function test results are shared with GP practices has changed.

Results from the community diagnostic centre at Finchley Memorial Hospital are now being sent to GP practices via Docman Connect, instead of email.

Royal Free Hospital infectious diseases and respiratory services to launch clinical assessment service

Infectious diseases and respiratory services at the Royal Free Hospital will be launching a clinical assessment service (CAS).

The infectious diseases service will go live on Monday 20 November and the respiratory services on Monday 27 November. Patients referred into these services will be clinically triaged to determine the next steps for their care.

GPs will be able to refer patients via e-RS.

The triaging clinician will conduct the clinical assessment during a triage appointment which does not involve the patient. Information about the date or time of the triage appointment should not be shared with the patient by primary care.

CAS triage has six possible outcomes:

  • New appointment not required – letter of advice to GP and patient
  • New appointment not required – appointment already exists
  • New appointment not required – refer to another service (GP or RFL team)
  • First appointment required
  • First appointment required with investigations booked beforehand
  • Investigations booked with virtual review by consultant

GPs and patients will be sent a CAS triage outcome letter including any clinical advice and guidance provided by the triaging clinician.

We already run a CAS model across seven outpatient services, and we are seeing a positive impact on access to treatment as result. We will be rolling CAS out to further specialities in the coming year.

Guidance on labelling pathology samples

When sending a pathology sample to RFL labs, please ensure only one label is attached to the sample. If one label is not attached, this may cause delays to process the sample and share the results.

If a patient requires more than one test, the number of samples sent to our laboratories must match the number of labels generated on the tQuest form.

You can read all the details in the document attached.

Diagnostic testing turnaround times

Primary care colleagues can expect to receive test results from cardiology and pathology within the following timeframes. These start when a sample is received in our laboratories, or the test has been completed. They are subject to change.

Cardiology

Royal Free Hospital 

  • 24-hour blood pressure monitoring: one week
  • 24-hour ECG: two weeks
  • Echo: two weeks
  • ECG: one week

Barnet Hospital/Chase Farm Hospital/Edgware Community Hospital 

  • 24-hour blood pressure monitoring: one day
  • 24-hour ECG: three weeks
  • Echo: two weeks
  • ECG: one week

All ECG results are sent with an automatically generated algorithm, rather than a separate clinical report. Results for the other tests listed above are sent with a cardiac physiologist report.

If you have a specific clinical question about your patients’ results, please submit an advice and guidance request via e-RS. Do not submit a request for general comment on a patient’s results.

Pathology

All RFL sites

  • Biochemistry tests: three days
  • Haematology tests: two days

If you have any questions about your patient's results, please contact the pathology results helpline:

The results helplines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

For tQuest support enquiries, please email helpdesk@tdlpathology.com

Imaging

Royal Free Hospital

  • X-rays: four days
  • Ultrasounds: two days
  • Dexa scans: three to four weeks

Barnet Hospital/Chase Farm Hospital/Potters Bar Hospital/Finchley Memorial Hospital/Edgware Community Hospital

  • X-rays: four days
  • Ultrasounds: two days
  • Dexa scans: one to two weeks

Please ensure that paper referrals include the signature of the referring GP. We are legally unable to accept referrals without a valid signature.

If you have any questions about your patient’s results, please contact the radiology teams:

Both mailboxes are monitored Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.