Referrals Information

Urgent Referrals (two week wait referral)

Why have I been referred urgently to the Hospital?

It is important to remember that even though you are getting an urgent referral, being referred to a specialist does not necessarily mean you have cancer.

Your General Practitioner (GP) General Dental Practitioner (GDP) or Optometrist feels that you have symptoms that require investigationbyahospital specialist as soon as possible. This is so that your illness can be diagnosed and treated quickly and effectively. Whilst this does include the possibility of cancer, the majority of people referred in this way do not have cancer. The signs and symptoms you have may be caused by a number of common conditions but it is important that the hospital know about your GP’s concerns, in order tofullyinvestigateyour condition.

What does it mean to be urgently referred?

An urgent two-week referral usually means that you will be offered an appointment with a hospital specialist within 2 weeks of your GP/Dentist/Optometrist making the referral. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you are likely to be offered a telephone appointment as your first contact with the hospital. The timescalesforyour first contact may vary during this time. Make sure that your GP (or dentist) has your correct address and telephone number, including your mobile number. Please tell your GP practice if you are unable to manage a telephone call.

If you have not been contacted by the hospital within two weeks of seeing or speaking with your GP and being given this leaflet, please telephone the hospital directly on 0118 322 6881.

About your referral

To help combat the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is likely that the hospital will contact you by telephone, prior to your referral appointment.The hospital team will advise and discuss with you the next steps about your healthcare. This will cover information about any tests that thehospital team would like you to undergo, and this may include planning your investigations for an alternative or later date, when there is less risk o fyou getting COVID-19. Please note: In some cases, where this is feasible, arrangements for a face-to-face ‘video’ consultation with the specialist clinician may be possible.

What if I become unwell?

If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 including a fever and/or new persistent cough whilst awaiting your appointment, or if youneedtoselfisolate because a family member is unwell, please contact the hospital on the above number, to let them know.Do not go to the hospital oryourappointment without speaking to them first. Your safety and the safety of NHS staff is very important.

What if I cancel or cannot attend my appointment?

Your GP/Dentist/Optometrist believes that your symptoms need to be investigated as soon as possible, so it is important that you are flexible when arranging this appointment. You should make every effort to attend the first appointment you are given, which may be via telephone, duringtheCOVID-19 pandemic. However, if you cannot make the appointment you are given, please contact the hospital as soon as possible, soanalternative can be arranged.

If you cancel an arranged appointment without notice, or do not attend your appointment, the hospital will do their best to ensure youareseenassoon as possible.

How do I get to hospital?

If you cannot drive or arrange your own transport, or public transport is limited, you may be able to use the patient ambulance transport service.Please speak to the receptionist at your GP practice as soon as possible if this is something you require.If you need to be supportedtogettoyour appointment, a maximum of one person should attend with you.

Your Appointment

What will happen at my appointment?

In order to help your specialist understand the cause of your symptoms, you may be required to undergo some tests. Depending on the nature of your symptoms these tests may be required at different stages. The tests may be needed either:

  • before you see your specialist
  • during your first appointment with the specialist
  • or the specialist may refer you for these tests following your first appointment.

Details on what will happen at your first appointment and any tests you might need will usually be sent with your appointment confirmation. The hospital will send you the relevant information after your appointment has been booked. If you do not receive this information or haveanyfurtherquestions, please contact the GP/Dentist/Optometrist who referred you to the hospital.

You may find it useful to write down any questions you want to ask during your appointment and have them with you, to refer to. The specialist team will give you a lot of information and many people find it useful to take a friend or relative along with them.Whilst it is important to minimise the 'footfall' to the hospital at this time, if you are unable or prefer not to attend alone, please remember only one person should accompany you. For more information about your urgent suspected cancer referral, visit Cancer Research UK.

You can get more information about the two week wait appointment system and other information from these websites:

National Institute for Health Care and Excellence

The NHS website


General referrals

Information to follow.