Map of Medicine for GP referrals

Last updated: 15 October 2012 

The journey

This programme’s aim is to reduce inappropriate referrals by creating greater clarity of understanding between GPs and consultants, not only about how to refer appropriately but also about what can reasonably and safely be done in primary care before referral. The vision of the programme is ‘right care, right place, first time.’ 

The Map of Medicine itself is an online set of algorithms based on national best practice.  It allows the user to create a central repository of care pathways for a variety of conditions for use by GPs, building in local referral criteria and pragmatic explanations of NICE guidance.



The programme now has the highest number -114 – of properly localised pathways in the country, as well as the country’s highest GP usage.  Future ambitions include referral forms which will interface with GPs’ systems and automatically populate.  Also planned is a checklist function for GPs which, it is hoped, will help to drive up the overall quality of referrals.  All local service information will be included, increasing patient choice, and video links are being developed, some to aid diagnosis and some for patient information, explaining the risks and benefits of key health decisions.


Patient setting

In-patient Out-patient   X Community based
Mental health Chronic illness Cross-systems   X


Clinical area

Staying healthy Maternity and newborn Children and young people   X Acute care   X
Planned care   X Mental health   X Long-term conditions   X End of life


Information, tools and techniques used

No formal change model has been used to deliver the programme.  Instead the team’s approach has evolved to work pragmatically around existing structures.  A Lean approach has underpinned its project management, as well as an organising approach to encourage GP participation based on the thinking of Marshall Ganz.  

The approach has been strongly collaborative, with hospital consultants and doctors working with GPs and other clinicians in the community, with input from physiotherapists, pharmacists, dieticians and other health professionals.



The programme extends across South West Hampshire.  It affects all organisations, NHS and non-NHS, to which GPs refer patients. 



The first tranche of some ten local pathways was launched to GPs in August 2010. The next significant milestone was in May 2011 when there was a major shift in usage from under 1,000 GP hits per month to more than 1,500.  This upwards trend has continued since then.


Contact details and further information

Cathy Price, NETSCC Consultant Advisor:-

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