NHS e-Referral Service

If you need to be referred to see a specialist, you can now choose to get your treatment at any hospital that meets NHS standards. You can also book an appointment date and time that is convenient for you.

You can make your choice based on what is important to you, for example, a hospital’s reputation, shortest waiting times, cleanest wards, most convenient location or anything else. We’ll be happy to give a recommendation if you wish but it is your choice. To help you choose there is information on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk.

You can compare hospitals on cleanliness, patient feedback, the overall quality of service, the respect and dignity given to patients and distance from your home. You can also see comments left by patients, and after your treatment you can leave feedback on the website to help other people choose.

Booking a hospital appointment

We use a computer system called NHS e-Referral Service which gives our doctors immediate access to hospital clinic diaries. If you make your choice straight away you may be able to look at the diary with the GP and pick a slot that suits you. If you need time to choose a hospital or check which date would suit you best we will give you a reference number.

When you’ve made your choice you simply call the national appointments line on 0345 608 8888 or book online at www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/hospitals/nhs-e-referral-service/

Can I go to a private hospital?

Yes. The NHS now has contracts with many private hospitals to provide the care people need. Private hospitals with such arrangements are listed on www.nhs.uk How long will I have to wait? Hospital waiting times have reduced dramatically in recent years. Exact waits vary depending on the hospital and the specialty you need, but in most cases you should be treated within 18 weeks of your referral.

Can I choose for every type of treatment?

Not quite. If there is something we think should be investigated urgently the wait is normally no more than 2 weeks and a choice of hospitals is not available. At present maternity services and mental health care are not included in the patient choice programme either.