How to refer patients with spinal cord injuries

Making a Referral

A telephone call is expected to be made by the diagnosing medical consultant or deputising senior staff member within 4 hours of the confirmed diagnosis of traumatic SCI and within 24 hours of a confirmed case of non-progressive, Non-Traumatic SCI. Every case of diagnosed SCI must first be discussed with an SCI Centre consultant to agree an appropriate and individualised patient care pathway.

The Duty Spinal Cord Injuries Consultant can be contacted via the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (Northern General Hospital) Switchboard on 0114 2434343.

Ask for the On Call ‘Spinal Cord Injury’ Consultant only. The SCI Service is separate speciality from Spinal Surgery or Neurosciences

Completing a SCI Database on-line patient registration

Having discussed the referral of the patient by telephone, you can now progress to complete the on-line registration form.

The single domain name for on-line NHS referral of newly diagnosed SCI patients is:

When you open this link you will be accessing the ‘National Spinal Cord Injury Database’.

In the event of any problems, please continue to liaise with us by telephone – 0114 2715616 / 0114 2715609.

To make a new patient referral you will be using the left-hand 'Patient Referral' section of the National SCI Database (NSCID).  The right-hand section which requires a username and password is for ‘SCI Centre Use Only’.

Before you access the patient data fields you will be asked to register the name of your trust and then to refer the patient to your 'geographically linked SCI Centre'.

For all SCI patients (adults and children) admitted to a hospital in South Yorkshire, East Midlands (except Northamptonshire), Lincolnshire, the ‘Northern Division’ of East of England (Norfolk, Suffolk and North Cambridgeshire), the 'geographic SCI’ is Sheffield. This includes any current inpatient with a diagnosis of acute SCI whose postcode address lies outside of your regional catchment area. 
All Major Trauma Centres and Tertiary Units should know which SCI Centre they are linked to already but this may not be as well disseminated amongst medical, vascular and general surgical units. ALL non-progressive SCI diagnoses need to be registered on the national care pathway, including 'spinal strokes' and Cauda Equina.

The referring consultant may prefer to recruit other MDT members to assist in the completion of this form or allocate the task to a senior medical subordinate, specialist nurse or therapist. Once all of the mandatory fields have been completed you can submit the form but, where time permits, please take time to fill in the additional spaces with as much pertinent information as you have available at the time. 

Please ensure that the registering person provides only an or ideally, an e-mail address otherwise the SCID will not e-mail in return a confirmed registration number and a copy of the completed on-line registration form.

Please ensure that this receipted copy accompanies the patient during any local ward or hospital transfer. Please ensure that the SCID Reference number is quoted in any future communications with the SCI Centre Team.

You will also be asked to electronically transfer all relevant images in the name of the accepting SCI consultant to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals via PACS/IEP.

Managing ‘Out of Area’ Patients

If your current SCI patient is resident outside of the catchment area of your linked SCI Centre they may be repatriated to a hospital in the catchment area of a different SCI Centre.  In such cases, sharing of referrals between SCI centres will be undertaken by your local SCI Liaison team and you may be asked, at referral, by the SCI consultant if the patient will consent for their referral to be shared with their local SCI Centre.

Managing UK Residents Hospitalised Overseas

If a UK resident with a newly diagnosed SCI patient is referred to your hospital from overseas, awaiting repatriation, you can still complete an SCID referral and registration by ticking the box that says the patient is currently hospitalised outside of the UK. By registering the patient before arrival in UK you can reduce their length of wait for an SCI Centre admission bed.

Providing Supplementary Information after SCID Registration:

In many cases, following submission of your patient referral and registration you may be contacted by the SCI Centre Team and asked to provide further information or you may wish to update the information you previously provided.

By Telephone: 0114 2715616

By e-mail: 

Patient Discharge Summaries are e-mailed to:

Please note that e-mails containing Patient Identifiable Data (PID) must only be sent between accounts. Otherwise, they will need to be encrypted with the password to de-encrypt being transmitted separately.

Please note that we can no longer accept Safe Haven faxes as all fax machines have been removed from use. 

After receipt of the completed SCID registration the SCI Centre’s Outreach Team will then contact you to discuss the best provision of support to you and your patient until either
1) their admission to the SCI Centre or
2) their admission to an alternative rehabilitation pathway or
3) their local discharge back to the community from your hospital with arranged outpatient follow-up in the SCI Centre has been achieved.

Many thanks for your continuing support and cooperation.

Acute SCI Outreach Team
Princess Royal SCI Centre
Northern General Hospital
Sheffield S5 7AU
0114 2715616