Why refer?

Our Healthcare Professionals will discuss with you and, or if appropriate, your carer, about why a referral is being recommended. It is usually because your GP wants a specialist’s help in deciding on the best way to treat and manage your condition. This might involve referring you for tests or investigations that cannot be carried out in a GP surgery.

Types of Referrals


We use this term in the practice when any Healthcare Professional directs you to an alternative service that may be better suited to meet your needs.

Self Referral

Not all referrals need to be made by a Healthcare Professional, there are services that you can self refer to.  We do try and make the forms for these services easily accessible either from within the practice or on the practice website.

Advice and Guidance

This is a service that our GP’s access to specialist clinical advice which often enables a patients care to be managed in the most appropriate setting, strengthens decision making and may avoid unnecessary outpatient appointments.


You’re entitled to ask for a referral for specialist treatment on the NHS.

However, whether you’ll get the referral depends on what your GP feels is clinically necessary in your case.

Your GP also generally understands your health history and treatments better than anyone else and will base any decision for a specialist referral on this knowledge.

If you ask your GP to refer you to a specialist, they’ll probably suggest that you first try various tests or treatment options to see whether your condition improves.

A specialist will only see you with a letter of referral from your GP.

The letter will give the specialist essential background information, such as your medical history, and it’ll also contain details that the specialist needs to pay particular attention to.

At the Practice the majority of our referrals are made electronically via a system called eRS.  Your referrals can be managed via your own online services; please assist the practice by signing up for an online service.

NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS)

The majority of referrals from the practice are made electronically via the eRS system. e-RS provides an easy way for patients to choose their first hospital or clinic appointment with a specialist. Bookings can be made online, using the telephone, or directly in the GP surgery at the time of referral. Please find detailed a link to the e-RS website.


Urgent (Fast Track

An Urgent Fast Track referral is a dedicated service for GPs, to refer patients that they suspect of having cancer. These patients with be offered an appointment with an appropriate specialist within 14 days of receipt of referral.  Patient leaflet below.

For Easy Read and British Sign Language leaflets and video relating to a Fast Track referral, please use this link to the Northern Cancer Alliance website.


If you want to see a private specialist, you’re still advised to get a letter of referral from your GP.

Whether you see a private specialist, with or without a GP referral, or are referred to an NHS specialist, your GP is not obliged to accept the specialist’s recommendations.

Please click on the three lines on the left hand side of ‘Appleby Medical Practice’ for further practice related information.