What does it mean to be urgently referred?
An urgent two-week referral means that you will be offered an appointment with a hospital specialist within 2 weeks of your General Practitioner (GP) making the referral.
As of April 1st 2010 you have a legal right to be seen by a specialist within this time. If this is not possible, the NHS must do everything they can to find you an appropriate alternative appointment but you will need to ask them to do this for you. If you are not offered an appointment within 2 weeks of seeing your GP please let your GP know.
More information can be found in the NHS Constitution leaflet entitled “Your right: urgent two-week referral” which your GP can give a copy to you.
Why am I being urgently referred?
Your GP feels that you have symptoms that require investigation by a hospital specialist as soon as possible. This is so that your illness can be diagnosed and treated quickly and effectively.
Whilst this does include the possibility of cancer, the majority of people referred in this way do not have cancer. The signs and symptoms you have may be caused by a number of common conditions but it is important for you to be seen quickly in order to fully investigate your condition.
How do I make my appointment?
Where possible your appointment will be arranged for you while you are with your GP. Your GP will give you a printed copy of your appointment details.
If you are being referred to a service, where it is not possible to book a direct appointment with the hospital of your choice, your GP will give you the details of what happens next, in most cases the hospital will contact you to arrange your appointment once they have received the relevant information from your GP.
If you have not received an appointment within 3 working days of visiting your GP please contact your GP surgery.
What if I cannot make the appointment I am offered?
Your GP believes that your symptoms need to be investigated as soon as possible so it is important that you are flexible when arranging this appointment and make every effort to attend the 1st appointment you are given.
However, if you cannot make the appointment you are given; please contact your GP surgery as soon as possible so an alternative can be arranged. If you cancel an arranged appointment or do not attend your appointment, the hospital will do their best to ensure you are seen as soon as possible, but you will no longer be covered by your right to be seen by a specialist within 2 weeks as described in the NHS Constitution.
What will happen at my appointment?
In order to help your specialist understand the cause of your symptoms you may be required to undergo some tests. Depending on the nature of your symptoms these tests may be required at different stages. You may be required to have these tests either;
-Before you see your specialist,
-During your first appointment with the specialist
-Or the specialist may refer you for these tests following your first appointment.
Details on what will happen at your first appointment, and any tests you might need, will usually be sent with your appointment confirmation. The hospital will send you the relevant information after your appointment has been booked. If you do not receive this information or have any further questions please contact your GP.
You may find it useful to write down any questions you want to ask during your appointment. The specialist team will give you a lot of information and many people find it useful to take a friend or relative along with them and you are very welcome to do so.