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Being referred to hospital can be a very stressful experience. From worrying about your condition through to scheduling an appointment, patients often struggle. This is a common problem and you shouldn't worry.

Some simple advice from us should help you to get treated as quickly as possible. And if you are having problems we are always here to help.

Did you know?

Did you know that if you are referred to hospital by your GP you have a legal right to be treated within 18 weeks of being referred?

If you know the date of your referral use our free calculator to find out when you should have received your treatment by.

Handy Tips


    If you have been referred to a surgical specialty such as ENT, Ophthalmology or Orthopaedics you should expect your initial appointment at the hospital to be no longer than 6-8 weeks from your referral date.


    If you have been referred to a medical specialty such as Rheumatology or Cardiology you should expect your initial appointment to be slightly longer away - probably 8-10 weeks.


    If you haven't received your appointment date within these times you should contact the department you have been referred to.


    If you have been trying to contact your GP or Hospital department to find out when your appointment will be and have not been able to get through you should talk to us.


    When you get to your first appointment you should always ask the doctor you see for two pieces of information;

    • What is your 18 week treatment date?
    • What will the 18 week outcome of your appointment be recorded as?

    These two pieces of information help people like us to speed up your treatment when dealing with hospital departments.

    Don't worry if your doctor doesn't know the answer to these questions-we can find out for you.


    If you have been sent for a diagnostic test at your initial appointment you should ask if it is possible to get the appointment date for your test on that day. There is no reason why a hospital should be unable to do this.


    If at any appointment, the doctor tells you that you will need to added to the waiting list for a surgical procedure you should note down The date you were added to the waiting list. Again, this helps people like us or a helpful friend or relative speed up your treatment plan when dealing with a hospital department.

Things to watch out for

If you are unavailable to come to in for your surgery for a period of time a hospital can "reset" your treatment time clock. Always tell them the date you are available again from. This will enable us to work out your new treatment deadline.

If the doctor tells you they are going to monitor your condition, your treatment time is stopped by the hospital for as long as that monitoring is happening. Always ask how often you will have to back to be monitored - often when patients treatment times get stopped they become lower priorities for hospitals than patients who have active treatment time deadlines. If you are in this position and finding it difficult to get an appointment - get in touch, we can help.

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