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The Outpatient Booking Centre, referred to as the 'OBC' is responsible for the management of new referrals (and a small amount of follow-up appointments) made to the Trust for the majority of the specialities in the Trust. Those that are not managed by the OBC are managed by the specialities themselves.
New referrals come into the Trust either via a paper route referral or electronically through Choose and Book (CAB) or through fax.
Below is the process for a paper referral. The CAB route is highlighted in the CAB page for which there is a link at the end of this section.
Referrals are registered by the OBC as being received and then taken to the main hospital to be*graded by an appropriate consultant in the speciality to which the referral has been made. Once grading has taken place one of the following will happen:
*Grading a letter means the consultant will read the referral and ensure that the patient's signs/symptoms do require a consultant assessment and that the referral has been made to the correct service. If apprpriate the consultant will ensure the referral is expedited.
The appointment is then booked by staff at the OBC
The letter is returned to the GP if the referral is not appropriate
The letter will be 're-routed' within the hospital if it has gone to an appropriate speciality but needs to go to a sub- speciality.
A referral letter may be rejected back to a GP if the consultant decides that the symptoms can be managed by the GP or that the GP has referred the patient to the wrong speciality. The consultant will ensure that the GP is aware of the reason for rejection, and where necessary, if a new referral to a different speciality would be appropriate.
The OBC receive approximately 15,000 telephone calls per month. The calls are made up of both internal calls from staff and external calls from patients making, cancelling, re-booking or making general enquiries about their appointment. A large percentage of the calls unanswered represent callers who have chosen to hang up.
Text Messaging is used to send reminder messages for appointments.
Not all patients attend their appointments. This is classed as a 'DNA' (did not arrive). To read more about DNAs click here.
The OBC is split into two teams and each team serves *3 Clinical Service Centres each as well as covering other administrative functions.
*Clinical Service Centres (CSCs) are several specialties grouped together, for example, Women and Children's CSC is made up of: Paediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynaecology. Some CSCs are much larger than others for example, Surgical CSC is made up of 10 specialties.
There are 6 CSCs within the Trust covering all medical and surgical specialties.
Choose and Book Team (2 staff) - you can read more about Choose and Book here.