While working in the Ashton, Leigh and Wigan PCT/CCG area as a GP trainee in 2010, I developed an electronic repository of referral guidance and referral forms, pertinent to the local area.

This kind of information could, at the time, be quite hard to find, and I had found that different practices store this information in numerous different ways. Some practices are quite organised and have the referral forms automagically mail merged with patient details and printed on demand from their clinical system, but rarely is it comprehensive and there is no facility to record referrals guidance information alongside this.

Many practices simply have a huge tattered folder full of photocopies of referral forms somewhere in the office. I decided first to scan any referral forms I encountered, and then provide them from an electronic repository (this was initially just a Word document, and later a HTML page as my Web skills developed).

The digital forms and the container page were distributed using Dropbox to the practices that liked the idea of the repository and asked to be on the distribution list. After finishing my GP training I was unable to keep up this project for a while and it was not maintained. It was an interesting proof of concept and was actually used by a number of local practices for over a year.

I would hope that the NHS e-Referral Service would now more-or-less make such referral maps obsolete.