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.
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.
When you have received your appointment, please put it in your diary and make sure you keep it.