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What is a GP referral?

A GP referral is a request from your GP to another medical professional to assess your health further as you may need specialist treatment. You usually need to make an appointment to get a referral and your GP will discuss whether you need to see a specialist during your consultation.

Sometimes, hospital consultants or other healthcare providers will ask that your GP refers you to another specialist, and they will write to your GP to request this. In this instance, you may not need an appointment as your GP will make the referral and inform you; it is often the medical secretaries who will contact you.

Common referrals are made to hospitals for the following specialities: 2WW Cancer Referrals, Cardiology, TIA Stroke Clinic, Eye Casualty, Gastroenterology, Colorectal/General Surgery, Dermatology, Plastic Surgery, Haematology, Endocrinology, ENT, Medicine for Older People, Gynaecology, Neurology, Rheumatology, Urology, Respiratory, Paediatrics, Orthopaedics, Fracture Clinic, Ophthalmology & Audiology.


How is a GP referral made?

Your GP will write a referral letter or complete a referral form and will decide whether you need to be seen urgently, routinely, or within the 2 Week Wait (2WW) fast track clinic for suspected cancer. The priority of the referral will have an impact on how long you may wait to be seen.

The secretarial team manages all referrals and submits them to the local hospitals, community service providers and other specialist teams. Most referrals are submitted via Choose and Book, also known as e-RS, which is a secure electronic booking system provided by the NHS.

In most cases you will be sent a letter stating to which speciality you have been referred, and the details of whom to contact if you do not hear about your appointment within the stated timeframe. In most instances the outpatients team will contact you directly to book your initial appointment.



If you need to contact the Hospital following you being referred to book, change, or cancel your outpatient appointment, their contact details are below:

  • Luton & Dunstable Hospital Outpatient appointments: 01582 561385
  • Buckinghamshire Hospitals Outpatient appointments: 01296 838888
  • West Hertfordshire Hospitals Outpatient appointments: 0300 303 5929

If you are currently waiting for a hospital appointment, operation or treatment, you can take a look at the NHS My Planned Care Patient Digital Platform which provides access to the latest average wait time information for your treatment, as well as helpful advice and support whilst you wait.



If you have any concerns or feedback regarding your hospital care, then you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) in the relevant hospital, they are a brilliant hospital team, and can help you during this time.

Luton & Dunstable University Hospital – click HERE 

Buckinghamshire Hospitals – click HERE

West Hertfordshire Hospitals – click HERE 


Can I see a private consultant or specialist team?

Yes. Please advise your GP that you wish to access private medical care and they will write a private referral to the consultant or hospital of your choice. You may not need a private referral letter to book an appointment with a private consultant however medical insurance companies require a GP referral letter and some private practitioners do too.


If you need any support from our medical secretarial team they can be contacted on 01442 822468 select Option 4, this line is open Monday – Friday 9am -4pm, and there is an option to leave a voicemail, which will be reviewed by our team.