Share your experiences of GP referrals

Have you been referred by your GP practice to a specialist for tests, diagnosis or treatment? Or have you expected or requested a referral but didn’t get one? We’d like to hear about your experiences to help the NHS understand what is working and what could be better.

The survey will only take a few minutes of your time and any information you share will be anonymised.

What is a GP referral?

It’s when a GP or other medical professional at a GP practice sends you to a specialist at a hospital or community clinic for further tests, diagnosis or treatment. Your GP could make a referral for many reasons, such as a hip replacement, MRI scan, physio, mental health services, endoscopy and more. A referral can happen during a phone or face-to-face appointment.

Tell us about your experiences

Share your views about GP referrals

Have you or your loved one struggled to get a GP referral for tests or treatment?

Healthwatch England has been hearing from the public about how hard it can be to get a GP practice referral to another NHS service, and they would like to hear about your experiences.

GPs are the first point of call for many health issues and the gateway to specialist support. But with many GP surgeries stretched thin and under pressure, NHS decision-makers need to understand if people are finding it difficult to get the right help.

Examples of services your GP can refer you to include:

  • Scans or tests for a diagnosis of a condition or health issue
  • Mental health support
  • Surgery for knees, hips and eyes
  • Support like physiotherapy for back pain or arthritis
  • Non-urgent heart problems
  • Wellbeing services, like smoking cessation or diabetes management.

The impact of delayed referrals

GP referrals affect people of every age group, every background, and every region across the country. Some of the things patients have said include:

  • People feel like their symptoms are dismissed
  • They have to try multiple times before they’re successful
  • They are left in the dark about how serious their condition is.

Share your views

As the independent champion of health and social care services, we want to hear your experiences of trying to get specialist NHS support, like physiotherapy, talking therapies, hospital scans and consultations.

By sharing your story, we can use your feedback to help the NHS better understand your challenges and improve how people access the care they need.

Find out more about GP referrals

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