Why have I been referred?:

Your GP will discuss with you and, if appropriate, your carer, about why a referral is being recommended. It is usually because your GP wants a specialist’s help in deciding on the best way to treat your condition. This might involve referring you for tests or investigations that cannot be carried out in a GP surgery. Your GP will also discuss with you what choices there are for where you can be referred. (for more information on NHS referrals for specialist care, please click the following link: )

How will I hear about where and when the appointment is?:

GP practices and hospitals use different ways of arranging appointments:

  • Electronic Referral Service (ERS): Your practice may give you a reference number and a password you can use to book, change or cancel your appointment online or by phone – this is known as the NHS e-Referral Service (previously Choose and Book) – more information on this service can be found further down this page.
  • Hospital Letter: You may receive a letter from the hospital confirming your appointment.  You need to reply as soon as possible and tell the hospital if you can attend the date offered.

If you have any queries in relation to your referral appointment, please contact the hospital department directly, so they can help you.

You can see the current waiting times for various Hospitals in the South East HERE, then choose the Hospital you have been referred to, and then the speciality.

Click on the link below to download the referral checklist and more information:

What happens when you are referred

Urgent Referrals [Faster Diagnosis]:

If there is a possibility that you might have a cancer, we will discuss with you the best specialist to go to. We will refer you under the “Faster Diagnosis” protocol, whereby you should have a diagnosis or ruling out of cancer within 28 days of referral.

From 1st October, cancer waiting time standards are being modernised and simplified, moving to three measures:

  • 28-day Faster Diagnosis Standard – diagnosis or ruling out of cancer within 28 days of referral (target 75%)
  • 31-day Treatment Standard – a first treatment within a month of decision to treat for all cancer patients (target 96%)
  • 62-day Treatment Standard – a first treatment within two months of referral or consultant upgrade (target 85%)

Faster Diagnosis is in place already and remains unchanged. Changes taking place are:

  • Removal of 2-week-wait standard
  • Combining existing 31-day first and subsequent treatment standards into one
  • Combining 62-day standard to include patients from screening and consultant upgrade as well as those referred by GP

The changes will allow more focus on outcomes not processes and encourage modern cancer diagnostic practices like one-stop-shops, remote image review, and straight-to-test.

The Faster Diagnosis Standard target will increase gradually to 80% by 2026.

Information for urgent referrals PDF
Your urgent cancer referral explained

Delays to  referrals:

We understand that many patients are concerned about the length of time it is currently taking within the NHS to obtain timely referrals into hospitals for clinics and or surgery.

Covid-19 has affected waiting times for many services and are continually subject to change.

Whilst we at Swan Medical Group are acutely aware of these issues, there is nothing that we or our staff can do in these circumstances.

Our advice is to contact the local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and discuss the matter with them. They have direct access to NHS Hospital  Services and can act on your behalf, see some local contacts below:

Portsmouth Queen Alexandra Hospital:

Chichester St Richards Hospital:

Guildford Royal Surrey Hospital:

Frimley Park Hospital