Referral for Further Care

Referrals to hospital and other services

Please note the practice is not informed of outpatients appointments scheduled for our patients.

GP referrals

Specialist treatment is usually arranged by a GP referral if your doctor feels it is appropriate.

Your GP cannot insist that you see a particular consultant or doctor but may recommend a particular consultant who she or he believes is best suited to deal with your issue.  

Your GP will write a referral letter to the specialist with an overview of your condition. You can ask to see a copy of this letter.

Your referral is normally sent electronically to the hospital referral management centre within 1-2 days for urgent referrals and 1-5 days for routine referrals.  However it can at times take longer such as when your GP needs to discuss or take advice on a referral prior to completing it.

You should be seen at the outpatients department within 12 weeks from the date they receive your referral.  

You will normally be referred to a NHS Lanarkshire hospital except our patients who reside in the Borders who will normally be referred to services of NHS Borders.

If the hospital you are referred to cannot see you within the treatment time guarantee they may arrange for you to be seen at an alternative hospital.

If you request to be referred to NHS Lothian there is a risk the referral will be rejected as NHS Lothian often decline referrals of patients who reside outside their geographical area.  If your referral is not accepted you will have to be re-referred to an NHS Lanarkshire or NHS Borders hospital.  This may result in a delay and you not being seen within the 12 weeks standard.

You can download further information by following the links below:

18 weeks Referral to Treatment Standard

18 weeks Referral to Treatment Standard

Under the 18 weeks Referral to Treatment Standard, a least 90% of patients should receive all of the following within 18 weeks of being referred:

  • an outpatient appointment
  • diagnostic test (if required)
  • Treatment

Outpatient appointments

Under the 18 weeks standard, health boards should ensure that patients are seen at an outpatient appointment within 12 weeks of receiving a referral.

Diagnostic tests and investigations

Diagnostic tests and investigations are used to identify a patient’s condition, disease or injury.

The eight key diagnostic tests and investigations are:

  • upper endoscopy
  • lower endoscopy (excluding colonoscopy)
  • colonoscopy
  • cystoscopy
  • computer tomography (CT)
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • barium studies
  • non-obstetrics ultrasound.

Under the 18 weeks standard, health boards must ensure that the result of any test or investigation is available within six weeks of receiving the request.


Diagnosis is a key factor in determining how long you will wait for treatment.

The easier a condition is to diagnose, the less time is spent on investigation and the quicker treatment can begin.


After a diagnosis is determined and treatment agreed, each health board must ensure that patients receive inpatient and day case treatment within 12 weeks. This is called the legal Treatment Time Guarantee.

Not included in the 18 weeks Referral to Treatment Standard

The following treatments and services are not covered by this standard:

  • fertility treatment
  • obstetrics services (the care of pregnant mothers and their babies before and after the birth)
  • organ and tissue transplantation
  • some back treatments including injections and surgery
  • surgery to correct curvature of the spine
  • direct referrals to Allied Health Professionals (AHPs)
  • dental treatment provided by undergraduate dental students
  • direct access referrals to diagnostic services
  • mental health services.
Enquiring about your appointment

If you have not heard about your about your appointment you should contact the respective referral management centres using the contact details below.  Please note the practice is not informed of outpatients appointments scheduled for our patients.

NHS Lanarkshire Referral Management Service

0300 303 0249 – For Wishaw General, Hairmyres and Monklands Hospitals

NHS Borders Appointments Office

01896 826752/826754/826755 – For Borders General Hospital

Seeing a Specialist

When seeing a specialist you should take a similar approach as you would with a GP consultation – be prepared with questions and take notes.

After the consultation the specialist will write to your GP with their medical opinion of your health issue. It is likely they will have already addressed this with you face-to-face in the consultation.  Please note It can take several weeks for the letter to arrive with your GP.

As a general rule, any investigations or tests ordered in hospitals or outpatient clinics will be sent to the Consultant or Nurse who ordered them and so any requests for such results should be directed to the hospital secretary.  The specialist will probably wait for the results before writing to your GP.  

You may be copied in to the letter the specialist writes, and if you disagree with the letter or spot an error you should contact the specialist’s secretary.

Private Referrals

If you would like to be referred to a private specialist you should inform your GP who will make the referral on your behalf.

Services that do not require a referral

If you need to use the accident and emergency services or sexual health clinics you do not need a GP referral. Some services such as substance misuse or some alcohol services also run drop-in appointments where a GP referral is not needed.

The Kello Hospital has a 24 hours walk-in centre for minor injuries and as above a GP referral is not needed.  

Information for Private Clinics & Services