Urgent referral

Patient information for urgent referrals

This sheet explains why your GP has referred you to hospital, what it means and what you need to do

Why have I been referred urgently to hospital?

You’ve been referred urgently because your GP feels your symptoms need further investigation & has referred you to a specialist. There are many common conditions that can present with your symptoms but your GP has referred you quickly to exclude the small possibility of cancer

Because this referral is urgent, it means that you will be offered an appointment at hospital within two weeks.

Does this mean I have cancer? 

Having an urgent referral does not necessarily mean you have cancer. Most people who have an urgent referral don’t have cancer. However, you have been referred because you need to see a specialist or have some investigations quickly to help find out what is wrong with you. In the event that cancer is diagnosed, then ensuring that the diagnosis is made early means treatment is likely to be more effective and this is why it is important that you are seen within 2 weeks of the referral being made

What do I need to do? 

• Make sure your GP has your correct address & telephone number (including mobile) if you have one.
• Ensure you are available within 2 weeks for an appointment. If you are unable to attend inform the hospital 
• If you require a translator, please let the hospital know in advance of your appointment. 
• It is important that you attend it, so that your care is not delayed. 
• If you do not attend your appointment on two occasions, you will be referred back to your GP.

What will happen next? 

The hospital will send you an appointment either by letter within a few days or by telephone. If you have not heard anything within a week of seeing your GP or dentist please let them know you haven’t received an appointment yet. Once you have been given your appointment it is very important that you attend. Please let the hospital know immediately if you are unable to keep your appointment. You will then need to arrange an alternative appointment.

What will happen at the hospital? 

When you have your hospital appointment you will usually see a specialist who will give you some more information about what will happen next. You may also require some tests which will help both the specialist and your GP or dentist understand what is causing your symptoms. You will be told in advance if you need to have any tests during your appointment, so please ensure you follow any instructions given to you in advance.

You are welcome to bring a friend or family member with you, as it may be helpful if you have concerns about understanding what the medical team will discuss with you.

Any questions? 

If you have any concerns or questions regarding your referral to hospital, please call the GP surgery or dentist to speak to the person who referred you