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Request a Private Referral

Do I need a GP referral for private treatment?

No. You can get private treatment from a consultant or specialist without being referred by your GP.

A referral is needed by some private medical insurance policies. If you have private medical insurance, ask your insurer if they need a referral.

Getting a referral from your GP

It’s best to see your GP first if you’re unwell or have symptoms. Talk to them about whether you might need a specialist assessment or treatment.

If your GP thinks you need to see a specialist and you want to pay for it privately, they can write a letter of referral to a private consultant or specialist explaining your condition and your medical history. There is a charge for this which is £16.50 in most cases.

Your GP will only refer you to a specialist if they believe that specialist assessment or treatment is necessary. If they do not think it is, they do not have to refer you – either privately or on the NHS.

If you disagree with your GP’s decision, you can ask them to refer you to another healthcare professional for a second opinion (an opinion about your health from a different doctor).

Although you do not have a legal right to a second opinion, a healthcare professional will rarely refuse to refer you for one.