How Do GP Referrals Work?

Do you want to request a referral from your GP

Whether you want a specific treatment or require further testing, you are entitled to ask your GP for a referral to the NHS.

That being said, they may suggest that you try certain treatments or undergo certain tests before they refer you to see if your condition improves.

If you would like to find out more about the GP referral process, then the blog below will tell you everything you need to know.  


What Is the GP Referral Process?

Firstly, you need to make an appointment with your NHS GP. This can be done either online or by contacting your local practice directly. Once you are at your appointment, you should explain to them why you think you need to see a specialist. As mentioned briefly above, they may suggest other tests or treatment before they refer you. 

If your GP thinks that you need to see a specialist, require an outpatient appointment, or would benefit from mental health support, then they will write you a referral letter. This is included on the NHS England, which means you will not be charged for this service. 


How Long Do GP Referrals Take?

It is worth noting that once you are referred by your GP, it can take quite a long time before your appointment request is dealt with, as there is normally a waiting list. The exact length of time will be dependent on what type of treatment or testing you require, although the current average for waiting times is around 14 weeks. 

That being said, under the NHS Constitution, if you are referred for a non-urgent medical issue, you have the right to start treatment within 18 weeks from the date of your referral. 


Can a GP Referral Be Rejected?

Yes, your GP can decide not to refer you if they do not think that you need to see a specialist. That being said, if you are rejected, you can ask for a second opinion from another healthcare professional. This ensures patients are getting the help that they need. 


Do I Need a GP Referral for Private Treatment?

No, you do not. If you want to pay for private health treatment, then you can get in touch with your preferred specialist without needing to involve your GP. However, if you have private medical insurance, you may be required to obtain a referral letter

It is also recommended that you ask your GP for the referral, as then they will be able to pass details of your medical history to your private healthcare provider. 


What Is the NHS E-Referral Service?

The NHS e-referral service (e-RS) is an electronic advice and support tool that is designed to make it easier for GPs to manage patient referrals. More specifically, it enables clinicians and patients to book appointments with the healthcare provider of their choice. 

If you have an NHS log-in, you can receive your first outpatient appointment request information via email instead of a letter. It also acts as a directory for healthcare services, such as names of clinicians, treatments available, and conditions treated. 

If you would like more information about GP referrals or any other aspect of the NHS service, please Contact Us here today. 

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