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Referrals gateway worked well

The explanation given by the LMC and PCT for the closure of Manchester's referral management centre tells only part of the story, and does not give due credit to Harmoni. (‘CCGs scrap remote referrals gateway').

The referral gateway has been extremely successful at redirecting many thousands of patients to earlier appointments for diagnostics and treatment in either Tier 2 or CATS services around Manchester, saving time for patients and helping local hospitals to hit their 18-week targets.

GPSI triagers are helping to raise the standard of referrals according to best practice for a whole generation of GPs, and are supported by the LMC and CCGs in this approach.

There have been minimal complaints and no significant clinical governance issues.

Harmoni delivered what it was supposed to and did it well, managing a complex system of referrals with fewer problems than the previous incarnation in Manchester. Its location in Southampton had no impact.

After one year, PCT commissioners did what they are supposed to do and procured a cheaper service, which wasn't available earlier. But the gateway saved the Manchester health economy £4m.

Harmoni, GoToDoc, NHS Manchester and the three Manchester CCGs are proud to have been associated with this quality-based initiative, which has been rated a substantial success by the overwhelming majority of local clinicians and the Department of Health.

From Dr Peter Fink, Clinical lead, Manchester Referral Gateway

Dr Martin Whiting, Chair, North Manchester CCG

Dr Mike Eeckelaers, Chair, Central Manchester CCG

Dr Bill Tamkin, Chair, South Manchester CCG