Referral Top Tips: General Advice
1. Be clear and concise
One or two lines may be adequate to describe the problem.
Ensure you include when the problem started and whether symptoms have evolved.
Ensure you provide enough information to help us understand how you’ve reached your working diagnosis.
Understanding why a problem is important in functional or social terms is very valuable.
2. What’s your working diagnosis
If you are unclear of the diagnosis don’t be afraid to say, it’s often difficult. Provide a differential diagnosis if you can.
3. Explain why the referral is needed
Do you need help with making a diagnosis or reassurance that the diagnosis is correct, assistance with further management or understanding results of investigations.
4. Onward referrals
If you are being asked to make a referral that you do not support fully or even partially, do not feel inhibited to express this in your letter. Don’t forget to attach a copy of the specialist’s letter who advised the referral.
5. Who else has been involved previously
Patients with chronic musculoskeletal conditions and chronic pain have often been seen by different specialities and it’s helpful for us to know who they’ve seen previously, when and where if known. If you feel it would help please attach copies of clinic letters
6. Patient’s ideas, concerns and expectations
It’s helpful to know if the patient has any specific concerns that need addressing and explain if there may be involvement of stress or anxiety in the patient’s condition.
7. Save yourself time
Don’t worry about including lots of detail in the referral letter, attach a summary of the GP electronic record (past medical history, medication).
Please view the individual service pages as there are specific referral tips for each team.