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Data Provider: Welsh Government Referrals by treatment function and month

Data was excluded for referrals to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board from November 2016 to December 2017 due to initial problems with the new Welsh Patient Administration System (WPAS). This has been resolved as of the March 2018 update and data has been backdated to cover the period affected.

Provider Area Code[Filter]
[Collapse]LHB Provider[Filtered]
LHB Provider 1[Filter]
Residence Area Code[Filter]
[Collapse]LHB Residence[Filtered]
LHB Residence 1[Filter]
[Collapse]Source of referral[Filtered]
Source of referral 1[Filter]
[Collapse]Treatment Function[Filter]
Treatment Function 1
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[Collapse]All Treatment Functions113,725109,01987,137106,685102,749105,399109,426118,137112,679115,043108,458102,996121,742
All Treatment FunctionsGeneral Surgery11,32710,9048,41710,77110,25110,86311,07011,67011,22011,07110,85810,10512,037
Breast Surgery.............
Colorectal surgery.............
Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery.............
Vascular Surgery.............
Trauma & Orthopaedics17,54715,86113,06414,90114,22515,01415,90218,26117,16917,58215,70715,63817,720
Ear, Nose and Throat8,4658,1086,3638,1877,9717,8458,2058,4458,0757,8157,6397,2958,613
Oral Surgery4,5664,2993,5364,0274,0704,1474,0044,2953,9663,9964,1513,7514,559
Restorative Dentistry620644597555606586518622545531610476718
Paediatric Dentistry253254196235233191227268228194197223255
Plastic Surgery721692546654639646702812786852761704816
Cardiothoracic Surgery308270261278241284249325292289225301299
Paediatric Surgery21511313718214285191157124189152139176
Accident & Emergency9563728411212710513098119107116132
Pain Management1,2411,1648981,1231,2041,1081,0171,0211,0401,0799789991,164
Paediatric Urology.............
Paediatric Medical Oncology.............
General Medicine3,2783,2062,6943,3812,1262,2342,3292,4062,4972,3692,3132,1632,444
Clinical Haematology1,5081,4541,1911,3961,3701,4041,5041,6741,7461,8861,6171,4571,679
Clinical Pharmacology19106159151821171715169
Diabetic Medicine.............
Audiological Medicine10578717977698710197938066105
Clinical Genetics25482852612.2
Clinical Immunology And Allergy1471427620277176159122147146112106164
Palliative Medicine64704650658062554135343954
Paediatric Cardiology.............
Anticogulant Service.............
Sport and Exercise Medicine.............
Cardiac Rehabilitation.............
Stroke Medicine.............
Transient Ischaemic Attack.............
Respiratory Medicine2,2852,1131,8762,4582,6822,7272,7082,9262,7092,7182,4362,3582,815
Infectious Diseases17221320142314251624171223
Genito Urinary Medicine.............
Medical Oncology1341209412211189127148158106128115133
Nuclear Medicine.............
Clinical Neurophysiology141278183284264255263313282182250324272
Paediatric Neurology69496178614957454674615258
Geriatric Medicine1,0499827771,0171,2881,1511,1761,2841,2191,3121,3651,2621,346
Dental Medicine Specialties152173125133125178127140143157123133166
Medical Opthalmology.............
Obstetrics - Antenatal (outpatients).............
Obstetrics - Postnatal (outpatients).............
GP Other.............
Learning Disability100108628978909186869110084117
Adult Mental Illness3,1953,2232,6633,0552,6532,8883,0753,3713,2443,4183,0862,8613,319
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry1,6311,6171,2871,4391,4381,5141,4871,7811,6401,8001,1501,3911,925
Forensic Psychiatry402613178326211752373029
Old Age Psychiatry1,3471,2961,0091,2511,1491,1121,3421,3561,2291,4111,3531,2321,354
Clinical Oncology616650515649557564527588496532567526648
Interventional Radiology.............
Diagnostic Imaging.............
General Pathology.............
Chemical Pathology16013691154125149116124128137130131112
Haematology (non-clinical).............
Medical Microbiology.............
Community Medicine.............
Joint Consultant Clinic.............
Allied Health Professional Services.............


Referrals (April 2012 onwards)

Last update
20 December 2018 20 December 2018

Next update
24 January 2019

Publishing organisation
Welsh Government

Source 1
Outpatient Referral Dataset, NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS)

Contact email


Lowest level of geographical disaggregation
Local health boards

Geographical coverage

Languages covered
English and Welsh

Data licensing
You may use and re-use this data free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government License - see

General description
Resubmissions of the Referrals data in the Outpatient Referrals Dataset (OPR DS) occur each month. As a result, data in the release and Stats Wales is revised to reflect this. Please see the latest release for the impact of the revisions.
GP referrals cover both referrals from General Medical Practitioners and General Dental Practitioners.
Change of data source for GP referrals data for April 2012 data onwards:
For April 2012 data onwards, the data source for GP referrals for first outpatient appointments in this release has changed from the aggregate GP referrals data collection to the OPR DS.
The monthly aggregate GP Referrals data collection was historically used to assess trends at LHB and specialty level of GP referrals to first outpatient appointments. This data source was published by the Welsh Government as the definitive source of GP referrals data from June 2006 until July 2012.The Outpatient Referrals Dataset (OPR DS) was approved in May 2007 by the Welsh Information Standards Board (WISB), full implementation was completed by December 2007 and formal collection and reporting began mid 2008. This is a patient-level data set that allows more detailed analysis.
Following detailed data quality assessments and reviews of the data, the Welsh Government moved to using the OPR DS as the source of the official statistics for April 2012 data onwards and has ceased the monthly aggregate GP Referrals data collection. The reasons for this were to:
- Have just one definitive source of data for GP referrals;
- Remove the burden on data providers of supplying data for two similar data sets;
- Remove the confusion for analysts and users which exists by having two similar data sets for GP referrals information, containing different data in some cases; and
- Allow more granularity for research and data mining (the OPR DS provides patient level data, whereas the aggregate GP referrals data collection provides high level, summary data).
For April 2012 data onwards, “treatment function code” has been used to determine into which specialty the referral is made, changing from "main specialty (of consultant)". Treatment function code is the specialty under which a patient is currently being treated or is waiting to be treated, irrespective of the specialty of the consultant, whereas main specialty (of consultant) is the specialty of the consultant under which the patient will be/is currently being treated. The reasons for using treatment function code are as follows:
It provides an improved measure of demand on the service. Referral figures have been reported historically using ‘Main Specialty (of Consultant)’ to identify the consultant care for which the patient is awaiting treatment. Using treatment function code enables reporting of referrals by the speciality to which the patients have been referred rather than by the speciality to which the consultant is registered.

Due to the changing management of referrals in secondary care (for example, the use of pooled specialty waiting lists and referrals now often being referred directly to a specialty or service rather than a named individual) using main specialty is no longer appropriate, as the data should be more standardised. Using treatment function code will bring this data set in line with national standards, and it should introduce more coherence between data sets (i.e. specialty figures for referral to treatment times are also reported using treatment function code).
From April 2016, there has been a change in the treatment function codes submitted by the local health boards; this includes the cessation of the nursing treatment function. Whilst the other changes are likely to result in movements between different codes, the nursing treatment function affects Cwm Taf University LHB in particular as it was the only health board to submit a large number of referrals for that code (around 2,000 in March 2016, the last month when data was submitted).
Information on non-GP referrals are included in this table. For information on the non-GP referrals please see this statistical article:

Data collection and calculation
Please find this information in the related statistical release, as per the given weblink.

More detailed treatment functions have been introduced recently but have not been used consistently across all Local Health Boards; for example, patients receiving vascular surgery may have been recorded in either “General Surgery” or “Vascular Surgery” treatment functions.
To reduce uncertainty and make counts more reliable, the new functions will be removed temporarily and treatment functions will be recorded under the more general headings; for example, all patients receiving vascular surgery will now be published under “General Surgery” until consistent recording of treatment functions is confirmed across all Local Health Boards. This has now been fully actioned back to April 2016 when the new codes were introduced and will remain] under general headings until the more detailed treatment functions are used consistently across Wales.

Frequency of publication

Data reference periods
April 2012 onwards

Users, uses and context
Please find this information in the related statistical release, as per the given weblink.

Revisions information
From December 2015 our revisions policy is that each month we revise data for the previous 12 months (i.e. each month we publish 13 months of data). At the end of every financial year, when the largest historical revisions are received, we revise figures back to April 2012 (i.e. when we publish March figures each year we revise figures back to April 2012). Prior to December 2015, we revised data back to April 2012 every month.

Statistical quality
Please find this information in the related statistical release, as per the given weblink.

The most recent statistical release can be found on the following weblink:
On the 24th February 2015 we published a statistical article, which detailed the impact on the data of including other sources of referrals, and identified patterns and trends of non-GP sources of referral.

gp referrals; nhs; NHS referrals