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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 Functions115,934114,651107,983113,495104,920113,737109,03587,148106,700102,767105,420109,061116,483
All Treatment FunctionsGeneral Surgery11,75711,87610,74511,15810,31311,30110,8988,41110,7639,62110,24110,30510,756
Breast Surgery11.11....4368392443461
Colorectal surgery.1.2922746155137135180
Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery.........1...
Vascular Surgery161713354.2.10996126117
Trauma & Orthopaedics17,74316,83616,92517,31316,34017,49315,82413,02314,86014,17614,96715,84218,120
Ear, Nose and Throat8,6638,6708,0408,6417,8788,4668,1096,3648,1877,9737,8478,2078,411
Oral Surgery4,1424,2873,8754,2273,9494,5674,3003,5364,0284,0704,1483,9744,148
Restorative Dentistry607573477618555620644597555607586515516
Paediatric Dentistry206242227259233253254196235233191226209
Plastic Surgery743796728752695721692546654639646701803
Cardiothoracic Surgery238225246235258271228213231186244197272
Paediatric Surgery19014815011718321511313718214285190148
Accident & Emergency134111115798395637284112127105130
Pain Management1,1441,2501,1181,2881,1801,2411,1648981,1231,2041,1081,1381,148
Paediatric Urology5.21361221412
Paediatric Medical Oncology1212.1111....
General Medicine3,2943,2463,1003,0993,1143,2293,1802,6803,3561,8351,9962,0952,107
Clinical Haematology1,5941,5491,4661,6221,4441,5081,4541,1911,3961,3591,3891,4681,628
Clinical Pharmacology15212091419106159151317
Diabetic Medicine.........1521138585
Audiological Medicine94991488694105787179776987101
Clinical Genetics42310925482852
Clinical Immunology And Allergy1131401431151091471427620277176159123
Palliative Medicine58785068536470465065806255
Paediatric Cardiology13711097651258913381981078497107
Anticogulant Service.........11151519
Sport and Exercise Medicine67513817385438424150472638
Cardiac Rehabilitation40486756393742484755404944
Stroke Medicine.........99898692
Transient Ischaemic Attack.....4926142540364453
Respiratory Medicine2,3432,3972,1532,2961,9992,2862,1131,8772,4602,6822,7302,6742,834
Infectious Diseases22242322191722132014231428
Genito Urinary Medicine5732...........
Medical Oncology13810196951211341209412211189127148
Nuclear Medicine.............
Clinical Neurophysiology199226133198133141279183285265255282347
Paediatric Neurology81806852636949617861495643
Geriatric Medicine1,1061,1321,0041,1871,0071,0499827771,0171,2881,1511,1561,231
Dental Medicine Specialties141140107156105152173125133125178127138
Medical Opthalmology.1...........
Obstetrics - Antenatal (outpatients).............
Obstetrics - Postnatal (outpatients).............
GP Other.............
Learning Disability1051079812689100108628978908777
Adult Mental Illness3,1583,1043,0953,7752,9603,1953,2232,6633,0572,6532,8883,2193,467
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry1,9821,9241,4461,1961,3261,6311,6171,2871,4391,4381,5151,4471,675
Forensic Psychiatry23212423134026131783155
Old Age Psychiatry1,4441,3021,2561,5041,2711,3471,2961,0091,2511,1491,1121,2031,166
Clinical Oncology605674667641627616650515649557564527581
Interventional Radiology35402134272128262128292431
Diagnostic Imaging69915201627273526344634
General Pathology.............
Chemical Pathology12112815514316616213691155125149118119
Haematology (non-clinical).............
Medical Microbiology.............
Community Medicine.............
Joint Consultant Clinic.............
Allied Health Professional Services.............


Referrals (April 2012 onwards)

Last update
19 July 2018 19 July 2018

Next update
23 August 2018

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.
More detail will follow.

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.

Betsi Cadwaldr Health Board have been unable to submit data for part of the health board for November 2016 - November 2017 due to moving to the national Welsh Patient Administration System (WPAS). NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) are working with the health board to resolve the issue.

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