A major change to the way referrals from GPs to public health services are sent and handled is now being piloted between a select group of GPs, the Lismore Base Hospital Specialty Outpatient Clinics and the Lismore Pain Clinic. GPs can now send electronic referrals, or ‘eReferrals’, as a secure alternative to fax. 

The project has now been underway since 17th June 2020, and is now seeking valuable feedback from GPs about your referrals to Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) services.

Complete the survey here: NNSWLHD Referrals Survey - General Practitioners

Your survey response will:

  • identify high-demand LHD services you as a GP refer to;
  • gauge GP sentiment, preference and patterns relating to referrals to LHD services;
  • help the LHD better-meet your needs and identify areas for quality and communication improvement; and
  • help the LHD build a case for eReferral expansion.

Why your feedback is so valuable

In the past, GP assistance with these surveys has helped Northern NSW Integrated Care, in partnership with GPs, deliver quality improvement initiatives.

Some of the key current and past initiatives which have benefited from this close engagement with GPs include:

  • Admission and Discharge Notifications – a first in NSW, this Northern NSW system is now being built for use across all Local Health Districts in NSW.
  • The Service Registration Assistant – a Commonwealth pilot focusing on improving the quality of the LHD’s “GP address book” to help improve the delivery rate of Discharge Summaries to GPs. This project is now being evaluated for scaling across Australia.
  • eReferrals – currently trialling eReferrals between GPs and the Lismore Outpatient Specialty Clinics and Lismore Pain Clinic. This project offers a secure message-based alternative to fax. It will improve 2-way communication as it lets LHD clinics provide updates about a referral’s status directly to the GPs secure message inbox (i.e. where radiology, pathology, discharge summaries and other reports are delivered).

What does NNSWLHD Integrated Care do?

The Northern NSW Local Health District’s (NNSWLHD) Integrated Care directorate helps deliver truly integrated care as one of three strategic directions in the NSW State Health Plan: Towards 2021.

NNSWLHD Integrated Care helps harness collaboration between GPs, the North Coast Primary Health Network, NGOs, the public system and other partners to help improve the patient experience and outcomes as they move between acute and primacy care, and vice versa. 

As well as clinical initiatives, NNSWLHD Integrated Care focuses on IT/eHealth projects that aim to:

  • improve clinical handover and thus patient experience;
  • increase the digitization of communication between GPs and the acute setting;
  • support patient information security and privacy;
  • improve clinician experience; and
  • help improve quality.

NNSWLHD Project Lead), Tim Marsh, is responsibile for the eHealth part of the eReferral project. Tim oversees the systems engineering/integration, quality improvement, data and analytics, security and privacy, and evaluation aspects of integrated care eHealth work. Tim also regularly engages with GPs as part of eHealth clinical engagement. GPs can contact Tim on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

As part of the work around eReferrals, NNSWLHD is keen to get feedback from GPs about preferences and sentiment around referrals from GPs to LHD services like Emergency, Haematology, Antenatal, Specialty Outpatient Clinics, Community Health, Oral Health and more.

“This survey though is vital for us be able to understand GP sentiment, preferences and referral patterns and any opportunities to improve the referral experience,” Tim said.  

“We understand and appreciate that GPs are often asked to complete surveys, but this project relies on collaborative input, so we’re really encouraging practitioners to have their say.” 

“As well as gaining valuable qualitative information, a key goal of this survey is to quantify this demand. If we can quantify demand for secure, 2-way electronic communication on referrals for a particular service, it makes the case to implement what is a substantial change in a particular clinic.

“These types of changes require a lot of investment through planning, support and change management to ensure sustainable adoption, both for LHD clinics and GP clinics, so we’re looking forward to GPs having their say so we can make the case for further expansion.”