NHS Fax Switch-off


The Norfolk & Waveney STP Digital Stategy Steering Group is implementing "Axe the Fax" across the whole of Norfolk & Waveney by 30th September 2019. From this date Community Optometrists  be unable to refer using FAX and will be required to switch to referral by email. Email referrals can only be made via a secure email account which means you will have to obtain an NHSmail account (with an email address ending '@nhs.net')

Information about how to obtain NHS.net email accounts is show below. 


 Points to remember

  1. You must only refer from your own nhs.net address. You may not use another email address for patient identifiable data.
  2. Please send your referral as an attachment to the email and not just write it in the body of the email. This makes it easier to get the referral into the hospital system.
  3. In the subject header, it would be good practice to indicate the urgency.
  4. For patient’s who require an emergency appointment, still pick up the phone and speak to the hospital directly. The email letter should be your back up information for the appointment that you have made by telephone. DO NOT ASSUME THAT THE EMAIL BOX WILL BE MONITORED REGULARLY ENOUGH FOR A PATIENT THAT REQUIRES SEEING TODAY.
  5. In the email, please add the patients name, this makes it much easier to find, should you need to follow it up.
  6. Please remember to c.c. the patients GP but indicate clearly that this is a direct referral and the GP copy is for their information only. A list of GP email addresses is available from Knowledge Anglia ( for details on how to get registered, please see the LOC website under fax switch off)

Please remember that you can still refer non urgent/routine referrals through the GP if that is more appropriate.


Queen Elizabeth Hospital Trust

The LOC has received information from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn, that it is prepared to receive referrals by email through the Referral Management Centre. We do not as yet have a date for the FAX to be removed but I am sure it is imminent. 

The email address to use for referrals is wn.ophthalmology@nhs.net 

QEH electronic referral forms can be found HERE


James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Announced the FAX referral service will be closed at the end of January 2020 to be replaced by email referrals using NHS.net accounts. After 1st February 2020 all optometrists who have an  NHS.net email account are asked to send referrals by this method. The FAX machine will be monitored until the end of March after which it will be switched off.

JPH email addresses can be found HERE


Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital Trust Announced the FAX referral service was switched off on 30 September 2019 and has been replaced by email referrals using NHS.net accounts. 

The Trust has issued some pro formas that it would prefer you to use, for specific conditions, the rest to go on an eGOS18 and these can all be downloaded from the LOC website. All pictures to go as a jpeg please. Please be aware that you can only use this referral route from your own nhs.net email address and NO other address, this is to protect patient identifiable data.

NNUH electronic referral forms can be found HERE


How to obtain an NHS.net Account. - A guide for ALL Norfolk & Waveney GOS Service Providers 

The following is a guide as to how to apply for an nhs.net email account. Unfortunately, nhs.net email addresses are no longer available as a single practice address for use by multiple users, the reason being the sharing of passwords is an information governance risk plus other numerous reasons. NHS.NET email for practice, it is best to use a multi-user shared mailbox, whereby you access the practice nhs.net email via your own individual nhs.net account. This account does not have a password and account owners can add or remove access as applicable. Shared mailboxes (i.e the practice one) can be accessed without having to login separately when selecting the ‘Open another mailbox’ tab from within your own nhs.net address.



It is also required that two of the practice nhs.net users are to be noted as owners of the mailbox. These must be a Director/Partner or Practice Manager
1.  First you should ensure you have completed the DSPT (data security protection toolkit) part of the Quality in Optometry under the checklist heading ‘NHS mail checklist’, that contains 15 questions. On completion it should be submitted to NHS DIGITAL (clear signage online). You also need to produce a PDF document that you can attach to your application. This is the minimum requirement if however, you have already completed the full Optical DSPT toolkit then download and supply this pdf.
2.  You will need your Organisation Data Service Code (ODS).  This is something that most of you will already have, as you also need it to submit CET claim forms, but if you are unsure you can check on https://digital.nhs.uk/services/organisation-data-service  and follow the guidelines.
3.  Once you have this you can download your application form by clicking the link https://support.nhs.net/knowledge-base/registering-optometrists/
4. Fill this in where indicated.  Please be aware that your chosen practice e-mail name should be pre-fixed with your ODS code. You should also be aware that your preferred individual nhs.net name for yourself may already be in use, should this be the case the process does require a current mobile contact number so alternatives can be offered.  Once the application is in process please keep checking your phone. At the time of first application create a list of the nhs.net addresses you require for your business for those who will be able to access the practice nhs.net address via their own account.
5.  Once you have completed the form email it to: England.optometryeast@nhs.net
6. If you have not heard within a two-week time frame follow the guidelines on the application form.
7. The next stage will depend on whether as the owner you already have an nhs.net email or not and whether your chosen employees to receive one have one or not
7A. You/they will get an email or text message to say you have an account that needs to be set up.
7B. If a new account at this point you will create your own password.
7. For account owners to locate the practice nhs.net email click on their profile tab in their own nhs.net account and select shared mailbox. Enter the given practice nhs.net e-mail (marked email) and click enter. This shows your chosen practice name in display name, click here. This shows you members and owners.
8. Once you have the practice nhs.net email and the owners assigned you need to contact  nelcsu.itservicedeskanglia@nhs.net The service desk will then add the individual nhs.net email address of people who you allow access to use your practice nhs.net account.
9. Each time you want to add an individual or remove you must do this via the service desk.
Please treat this e-mail as of HIGH IMPORTANCE.
The process does work it usually takes up to 2 weeks from application 
Julien Nelson F.B.D.O

Clinical Governance & Performance Lead, Primary Eyecare North Ltd.