What is a referral and why have I been referred?
GPs diagnose and treat many illnesses themselves; however, they occasionally need to
arrange for you to see a specialist hospital doctor. This could be for a number of reasons,
Your symptoms need further investigation
The treatment already prescribed has not been effective
Investigations your GP arranged have shown some abnormal results
To be sure it is not a serious disease
There are national guidelines for your GP to use to make a decision about whether to refer you
for an appointment within two weeks.
Why have I been referred?
Your GP will discuss with you and, if appropriate, your carer, about why a referral is being recommended. It is usually because your GP wants a specialist’s help in deciding on the best way to treat your condition. This might involve referring you for tests or investigations that cannot be carried out in a GP surgery. Your GP will also discuss with you what choices there are for where you can be referred.
How will I hear about where and when the appointment is?
GP practices and hospitals use different ways of arranging appointments:
Your GP practice may give you a reference number and a password you can use to book, change or cancel your appointment online or by phone. In time, more and more GP practices will refer patients in this way.
You may receive a letter from the hospital confirming your appointment. You need to reply as soon as possible and tell the hospital if you can attend on the date offered.
Alternatively, sometimes patients receive a letter asking them to phone the hospital to make an appointment with a specialist.