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NHS referrals for first outpatient appointments

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  • Release date: 21 February 2019
  • Period covered: 2017/18 and December 2018
  • Next update: 21 March 2019
Data showing the number of referrals received by Local Health Boards for a first outpatient consultant appointment, regardless of the patient’s area of residence.

December 2018

Release date: 21 February 2019

Data has been published on StatsWales.


Release date: 31 January 2019

Key points

  • There were 1,279,494 referrals for first outpatient appointments in 2017-18. This is a decrease of 16,941 (1.3%) from last year, but an increase of 202,604 (18.8%) from 2012-13.
  • On average referrals have been stable over the last 2 years but have increased compared to 5 years ago. Non-GP referral coverage was expanded in that time which may account for some of the increase.
  • The proportion of referrals coming from GP services has declined over time, from 71.7% in 2012-13 to 65.1% in 2017-18. The number of referrals coming from GP services has been increasing, but at a slower pace. This year saw the first decline in the number of GP referrals.
  • The treatment functions that received the most referrals in 2017-18 were (in order); trauma and orthopaedics, general surgery, ophthalmology, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) and gynaecology.

Further information

Monthly data are published on StatsWales and a report is published annually. This data is summarised in the monthly report ‘NHS activity and performance summary’ which includes data on a range of services and includes an online data tool.


Rebecca Armstrong
Tel: 0300 025 3633

Tel: 0300 025 8099

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