The NHS e-Referral Service has a patient coding functionality which enables the coding of named clinicians, including specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors. NHS Employers supports the principle of coding patients under the person responsible for their care, which may often be a SAS doctor.
Accurate patient coding forms one of the many recommendations outlined in the SAS charter. The SAS charter sets out the support available to SAS doctors and what they can expect from their employers as well as what their employers can expect from them.
It states that:
As a minimum, every SAS doctor should have appropriate IT support to ensure transparency of NHS data and provision of care as well as attribution of work to appropriate clinicians. This will include coding of patients and work activity under a SAS doctor’s name where applicable, guidance on how to code appropriately and access to this data when required.
Accurate patient coding is important for a number of reasons:
- it is good medical practice for patients and their families to know the name of the senior doctor in charge of caring for a patient
- a reliable record of activity is important for revalidation
- for appraisal and pay progression to accurately audit who has undertaken what work
- for staff morale and job satisfaction.