Why are the guidelines needed?

The evidence-based referral guidelines, iRefer, help in the choice of the right radiological investigation.

  • Early exclusion of serious pathology reassures and empowers patients and referring clinicians.
  • Prompt diagnosis will lead to the patient having the most appropriate treatment – by swiftly moving on from the working diagnosis to a more definitive diagnosis.
  • The right imaging leads to patient referral to the appropriate specialty (if needed) and reduces inappropriate specialist referrals.
  • Treatment is earlier and appropriate.
  • Swift decision making reassures the patient.
  • Best use of available funding.
  • Direct access to the right imaging helps the commissioners to reduce any unnecessary referrals to hospital specialists and to ease the pressure on the acute hospitals and also helps in optimal utilisation of resources and funding.
  • The use of imaging guidelines (iRefer) is supported by NHS Evidence.

iRefer builds the best available evidence into the decision-making process and is there to help make the right choice and for reference when in doubt. The right radiological investigation will always obtain maximum information with the minimum of radiation, inform clinical management, reassure the patient and add confidence to the clinician’s diagnosis. The wrong investigation won't help - and it may add unnecessarily to patient irradiation.