Posted by: ethan - Posted on:

Why have there been changes to hospital referrals?

Some important changes are being made to the way we refer patients to our local hospitals in an effort to help the hospitals manage their resources and treat the people who need help at this difficult time.

These are measures that we have been asked to take during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

The changes are in line with government guidance about the COVID-19 pandemic, in which hospitals have been told to postpone all non-urgent planned treatment.

Who can be referred to hospital?

Anyone who has an urgent medical need can be referred by a GP or other healthcare professional to hospital – this would include people who may have symptoms that might indicate that they have cancer.

Most illnesses are successfully treated by doctors.

However, on some occasions they need to arrange for you to see a specialist hospital doctor.

This could be for a number of reasons, such as:

  • your symptoms need further investigation and it is important that this is done quickly
  • the treatment you have already received has not worked and your GP or healthcare professional feels that an urgent referral is required
  • your tests have shown some abnormal results
  • to be sure you do not have serious disease

Who won’t be referred to hospital?

Anyone with a non-urgent medical condition will not be referred to hospital at this stage.

Your doctor will give you advice and, if needed, medication and will agree with you a time to return to the practice should your symptoms not ease.

If I’m not referred, will I get put on a list to be referred at some time in the future?

No. The practice will not put you on a list to be re-contacted at a future date, so it is important that you speak to your GP or other healthcare professional again at a future date if your condition continues to be a problem.

What happens if my condition gets worse?

If your symptoms become significantly worse, you should contact the practice for further advice.

Outside surgery hours, please contact the NHS 111 online service or, if you do not have access to the internet, telephone the service direct on 111.

My relative is vulnerable and may not remember to go back to the practice

The doctor will follow up all vulnerable people, particularly those with dementia or a serious mental health condition, to ensure that the treatment that they need is available.

What’s happening with walk-in appointments for x-ray and blood tests?

For the same reason, all walk-in opportunities for diagnostic tests – for example, x-ray and blood tests – have been cancelled.

If you need one of these tests, you will be given an appointment.

What if I don’t agree with a decision not to refer me?

There may be times when you don’t agree with the decision made by your doctor or healthcare professional.

If that’s the case, you can contact a different GP or healthcare professional in the practice for a second opinion, but please be aware that all health professionals will be working to the same national guidance regarding referrals at this time.