News & Views
Home > Case Study > Quick and easy patient referrals for post-Covid illness

Quick and easy patient referrals for post-Covid illness

Our Data Quality team developed a custom data input template to streamline referrals of patient with post-Covid illness, saving time and effort for clinicians, improving access for patients and creating better reporting opportunities. 

Pennine Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) approached our Data Quality team to help support their primary care network’s Neighbourhood Accelerator programme. This programme supports vulnerable patients experiencing ongoing symptomatic COVID-19.

As part of this work, it was decided to create a new patient referral form to be used across the Lancashire and South Cumbria integrated care system (ICS) to refer post-Covid patients to the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust. It was later agreed that the work being undertaken across Pennine Lancashire would be rolled out across the rest of the ICS footprint.

The Data Quality team advised the Pennine Lancashire team on how to make the process as seamless as possible for those referring into the service.

Due to the nature of post-Covid illness, a lot of information was being asked during referrals. Reviewing the previous referral process, the team established that it  contained some coded information but also a lot of free text. This resulted in a lot of clinician typing and the potential for important information to be missed out. Also, none of the information being gathered during referral was being recorded back into the patient record as coded data.

Our Data Quality team developed a data input template to allow all of the information needed to be captured, auto populating fields with information recorded during the referral.

We carried out rigorous testing involving GP practices and the Trust. Once the system was ready to be rolled out, our team helped practices to install the package onto their clinical systems.


Since its introduction in March 2021, the system has been installed in 167 GP practices out of 178 across the ICS area.

It has given the region’s GP practices a quick and easy way to capture the data needed to refer a patient to the post-Covid service.

This comprehensive collection of data will also allow practices to provide detailed information around patients with post-Covid syndrome if it is needed by NHS England and Improvement in the future.

The project has also improved patient access to services by creating a streamlined process which reduces the number of rejected referrals as the form clearly identifies all of the information required.

“A huge thank you to Emma-Jane McDonald [from MLCSU]. She has been fantastic and pulled out all the stops to get this vital piece of work completed and rolled out. Thank you so much for all your amazing hard work and dedication, we are very grateful!”

Lee Hay | Programme Director – Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire CCGs

“Emma-Jane, fantastic work, really appreciate your hard work on this.  It’s been a pleasure.”

Dr Quashuf Hussain | Deputy Medical Director – Pennine Lancashire

“You are truly amazing, thank you so much for all your hard work and support. It’s been so interesting and really useful to get a glimpse of how EMIS works.”

Elaine Craven | Planning, Transformation & Delivery Officer – Pennine Lancashire