Referral for Further Care

Referral to Hospital by your GP

Having visited your GP, you maybe referred to hospital for further investigations and treatment. Once your referral has been received you will then be added to the hospital’s Outpatient Waiting List.

In order to ensure your visit to hospital can be facilitated please note the following:

  • When you attend your G.P. please give them details of all unavailability and if you would require an interpreter to be in attendance at your appointment
  • Please ensure that all contact information is up to date
  • Your GP will then send an electronic referral to the hospital within your catchment area
  • Referral is then processed by the Hospital
  • You should be normally be appointed within 12 weeks, this maybe sooner if your Doctor has classed your referral as urgent – Please do not contact the Practice before this time to check on the progress of your referral
  • You can if you wish contact the Hospital Department directly that you have been referred to, if you have any concerns
  • If you still have any questions about your referral then please contact the Practice

What you can expect

When offering you an appointment, the hospital will:

  • give you a minimum of 7 days notice of an offer of appointment
  • inform you of the consequences of refusing a reasonable offer
  • send notice of appointments by letter at least 14 days before the appointment and in a format appropriate to your needs
  • tell you how long the appointment will last prior to attending
  • ensure that if the Hospital breaches the Treatment Time Guarantee, you are offered the next available appointment and an explanation given as to why the guarantee was breached
  • ensure that any additional needs are taken into account and support is in place when offering an appointment
  • explain to you that it might not always be possible for you to be seen and treated locally and provide details of possible locations
  • advise you as early as possible if you will need to travel for treatment
  • If you require transport for the upcoming appointment, please phone one week in advance. Please access the patient transport  to arrange this. You will be asked a series of questions about your mobility, this is to assess if you are eligible for ambulance transport.

How do you process my Referral?

When you are referred to hospital, we type a letter which includes the main concerns of your clinician, and we also give the hospital a summary of your previous problems and the current medicines you are on.

Once the letter is typed it is emailed via a secure intranet to the appointments department at the hospital that your clinician feels is most appropriate for your problem.

The referral letter includes a prioritisation of how urgent the problem is. This should enable the hospital consultant to decide when you should be seen. We prioritise as urgent or routine. This is the normal prioritisation that takes place for NHS referrals.

Once the hospital receives the letter, they are responsible for organising the appointment.. Some departments will send out an appointment quite soon, and others are quite delayed. It very much depends on the waiting list for that department, the particular consultant you are seeing, and the urgency.

Changes to your Clinical Problem

Sometimes, after a referral has been done, your condition may change

If it has resolved completely: 

  • and you are absolutely sure that you do not need the appointment, then contact the hospital, ask for appointments, and ask them to cancel the appointment
  • but you are not absolutely sure whether you should keep your appointment, it is worth contacting the practice secretary, who will discuss it with your GP and they will either leave you a message about what you should do, or will give you a phone

If it has become more worrying or you are getting worsening symptoms:

  • then please contact the practice secretary and they will take your details, and will discuss it on your behalf with your GP. We will then phone you back and let you know what we suggest should happen.

If you have been waiting much longer than you had expected for your hospital appointment, and you are concerned that they have not received it, or that the waiting time is inappropriate for the problem, then you can telephone the appointments department for your hospital.

Private Referrals

If the referral is a private one, because you have made a request for a private referral, then the letter is dictated, typed, and you should collect the letter from the front desk.  We are able to email some referrals and your GP will let you know which route is applicable.  It is your responsibility to telephone the private clinic that you are going to, in order to book your appointment directly. The envelope will detail which consultant you are to see, and the telephone number of the clinic.

If you receive an appointment, but the date does not suit (perhaps you are on holiday) then you can telephone the hospital appointments department and ask them to change this. Remember that making such changes often leads to your appointment being delayed a number of weeks.

I want to check the progress of my referral

If you have any questions about hospital appointments or are looking for the results of a test done at hospital, then please phone the appropriate secretary directly.

Hospital information / appointments are not always shared on to our computer system and we only get results from hospital tests that we have directly requested.