Frequently Asked Questions – Following Engagement Events

Posted by: Matthew Jinkinson - Posted on:



How can a Locum optometrist gain access to the use of OPERA and become onboarded?

You can be invited to onboard by any practice that you locum at, this can be any practice that already has OPERA access. Any OPERA user at a practice can “Invite a user to practice” which will invite you to use.

Have locums to register, or onboard, to OPERA at every practice they work in?

Locums need to onboard once only. They can then be invited to access practices quickly and easily: Invite User

What happens if, as a Locum, I’m not onboarded but I’m conducted a clinic? What’s my fallback position?

You would need to fallback on a paper referral to the GP/EED as required. Although I am sure the PES Support Team can guide a practice to add you, if you contact them at Alternatively, you can contact your local clinical lead who will look at how best to get you added as a Locum.

If a practitioner works across several different practices, do you use one email address/one log in with separate accounts inside Opera? Or separate log ins?

Yes, you use the same email address to log in, and then choose which practice you want to log into. There’s also the option to swap between practices while logged in

Making and Tracking Referrals

Can a private ophthalmology service become a referral location option within OPERA EeRS?

That would be a consideration for the NW EeRS Team and PES but yes, the functionality within OPERA allows for that. Also, sometimes the patient may not know where they want to go, and will want to research which clinic they go to, so OPERA also allows you to print the referral off, and give the patient a copy, to take with them to their provider of choice

How does it work for a private referral to a consultant?

So, you can change your outcome to “referred outside of OPERA” and then print off the referral for the patient (or email the pdf to the patient if they prefer) and they can take this to the private clinic of their choosing.

Will the Wet AMD pathway be incorporated into OPERA?

Yes, where there are wet AMD pathways in place, this is integrated into OPERA, allowing you to attach fundus photos and OCT images as well! No more paper wet AMD forms and faxes.

Is there a way to change a routine to urgent once submitted a referral via Opera, or vice versa?

Yes, there is the option to “Edit the outcome” of a form once submitted and change the outcome to routine referral, or urgent referral, or referred outside of OPERA.

Are live waiting times going to be added to the provider list?

This would require the hospitals to add their waiting times live week by week, so although there could be the potential for this, the reality would be that it likely wouldn’t work. Some providers would do it, and others wouldn’t. Waiting times available in eRS are rarely updated by hospital providers and a large number state ‘Limited Availability’.

Is there a way to chase a referral or see the progress of referral via OPERA, or do we have to contact service provider directly?

Yes, please see ‘How to track a referral’ via the help centre.

Should we give the patient a copy of the eRS referral letter?

You can certainly print off the referral and give the patient a copy of this, and you can also choose to print off the eRS letter if you wish, letters that require action from the patient for booking are posted to the patient, if they do not want to wait then you can provide them with a copy of the letter once downloaded.

Does the GP practice know that the referral has been completed by an optometrist and that they don’t have to refer on?

Each referral has a cover letter which shows whether the GP needs to action, or whether it’s for information only (i.e. that the patient has been referred to HES). We are continuing to work with GP practices and have recently sent comms advising of this process.

How do you find the GP (surgery) on DOCMAN? Is there a list?

The patient record in Opera knows which GP surgery they are registered at so you just select “send central” and it automatically goes to the correct GP.

Why are there different options for referral to GP?

One option is that it sends through Opera into the GP messaging system, the other doesn’t send and you export and email or print and post. The name of each service clearly states whether it will be sent or whether the practice had to print and post. It is entirely up to the practitioner and practice which one they select. If the referral to GP is urgent it is probably better that the letter is printed and given to the patient to take to their GP practice.

If the feedback requests further info, can we edit and attach to original referral or do we need to do another referral and delete the existing?

This would depend on what is being requested. Although you can edit the referral, in some instances completing a new referral maybe of more benefit.

Can the HES give ‘feedback’ on a referral that requires action? How would it be identified if this is urgent- if it was sent as feedback only?

An email is sent to the practitioner (and, by default, all practitioners in the practice in case that particular Optom is off!) specifying urgent in the subject title.

Is it necessary to input disc and macular features when for example referring something unrelated, such as cataract?

Certain pathways such as wet AMD, require you to put something about the macula, and glaucoma referrals require information about the disc. Not every field has to be filled out every time, but everything important and mandatory will have a red star next to it.

Can you explain how to download the referral to add to your PMS system?

Click on the blue document icon on the right after making a referral. This will open the referral image and you can click on download. This downloads a pdf to your downloads folder that you can print or add to your electronic record


Some hospital clinicians seem to struggle to understand where to look for the images.  Is there a resource they can be directed to that explains?

There is a clickable link on any of the PDF referrals. Hospital user guide is also available here. Obviously, this doesn’t work if printed out.

Is it possible to increase the number of images you can upload? Sometimes four isn’t enough with retinal photos OCT fields especially if you want to include previous images to show progression etc.

We are shortly going to implement a new upload on the GOS18 which matches the process on the ‘red tab’ flow (if you use that function within commissioned services). You can currently upload as many images as you like to the GOS18 module, but each file does need to have a unique label name.

How close are we to getting full PMS integration?

OPERA API is fully functional and available, having been live with several providers for a few months, the PMS providers have to consider whether they want to complete the development work, along with completing any clinical sign off and testing.

Should triage services have access to OPERA if they are listed as a provider?

There are no receiving providers that get referrals ‘on’ OPERA, they receive via NHS Digital eRS or email.

I used this EeRS yesterday. On the ‘managing referrals’ there is now a large P in a black box next to the patient info. What does this mean?

This means you have attached images to your referral! P for Picture!

What is SNOMED and where can you find a full list of provisional diagnosis codes?,999000691000001104
This is the SNOMED catalogue for interest.

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