Can my GP refuse to refer me to a specialist? Unfortunately, the answer to this is yes, depending on the circumstances. Whilst this may be disappointing to hear, especially if you have concerns about your health, there are options available to you.
In this article, we’ll explore what you can do if your GP refuses to refer you to a specialist, as well as discussing the reasons why this may happen.
Can A Doctor Refuse A Patient To See A Specialist?
A doctor is not obliged to refer you to a specialist if they don’t think that it is the right course of action. NHS doctors always have to balance funding with need. Of course, NHS funding is limited, so if every patient was referred to a specialist for treatment, they’d quickly run out of money.
If a doctor thinks that you need to see a specialist for care, they will always make the referral. However, if they think that your case can be managed within primary care and may not require the input of a specialist, they may make the decision to refuse the referral.
If your request to see a specialist is refused, the doctor should always explain their reasoning for declining the request.
Do I Have The Right To Be Referred To A Specialist?
You might be wondering whether you have the right to be referred to a specialist for diagnosis or treatment of your medical complaints. Unfortunately, under the NHS you do not have the automatic right to be referred to a specialist.
Whether or not you are referred will depend on the GP’s assessment of your complaint. If they think that it requires specialist assessment, diagnosis or treatment, they may refer you to a specialist. However, if they believe that your condition can be managed within the primary care setting, they will continue to treat you at the GP practice.
Whilst this may be disappointing, NHS doctors are bound by their funding regulations. This means that they can only refer patients to a specialist if they feel that their condition would benefit from input from a specialist.
What Can I Do If My GP Refuses To Refer Me?
It’s natural to feel disappointed if your GP refuses to refer you to a specialist for assessment, diagnosis or treatment of your medical condition. However, there are some options available to you.
Firstly, you can ask for a second opinion from another GP. Whilst you may receive the same advice, speaking to a second GP can help to put your mind at rest, knowing that your condition can be managed without the input of a specialist. If they disagree with the initial decision to refuse the referral, they may decide to refer you to a specialist on the NHS.
However, if you are still unable to see a specialist within the NHS, private treatment is another option that is available to you. When you choose private medical treatment, you will not need a referral from your GP to access specialist medical diagnosis and treatment.
How To Access Private Specialist Medical Treatment
Seeking medical advice from a private specialist is a good way to bypass the NHS referral system if you’re unable to access a referral from your NHS GP. Luckily, you don’t need a referral to see a private medical specialist, so you won’t need to ask your GP to refer you if you do choose to go private.
If you decide to consult with a private specialist, it’s as simple as choosing the right private medical company and making contact. You can then choose to either have an initial GP consultation to determine the best course of action, or if you already know which specialist you’d like to see, you can book a consultation directly with your chosen specialist.
How Much Does It Cost To See A Specialist Privately?
The cost of seeing a private specialist will vary depending on where you live, the type of specialist that you see and the treatment required.
At Ghosh Medical, we aim to be transparent and clear with our pricing. Whilst pricing will always be based on the type of specialist that you see and the tests or treatment that is required, we’ve included our consultation prices for some of our most popular specialists below.
30 minute consultation - £140
45 minute consultation - £180
60 minute consultation - £220
New patient consultation - £250
Follow up consultation - £175
New patient consultation - £150
Follow up consultation - £100
New patient consultation - £225
Follow up consultation - £195
Can A Consultant Refuse A Referral?
When a specialist receives a referral, they will consider it before it is accepted. During this process, they may decide to reject the referral if they decide that they are not the most appropriate specialist for the referral. Alternatively, they may feel that they require further information before they can accept the referral.
Can A Private GP Refer To The NHS?
If you decide to see a private GP, you might wonder whether all of your care will then need to be carried out privately. Private GPs are able to refer back into the NHS for diagnosis or treatment. This means that you are able to see a private GP for assessment and referral, and then transfer back into the NHS system for your treatment if required.
It can be disheartening when a GP rejects your request for a referral to a specialist, especially if you’re concerned about your health. However, private treatment is always an option. You can see a private specialist without the need for an NHS GP referral, giving you the flexibility to choose how you receive your health care.
In this article, we’ve answered the question ‘can my GP refuse to refer me to a specialist’, as well as explaining your options if you are denied a specialist referral. If you’re looking for the right specialist to discuss your health concerns, give us a call today – we’re always happy to help.