Some times its necessary for your GP to refer you to a consultant or another service. In this instance your GP will discuss with you and, if appropriate, your carer why a referral is being recommended. You are usually referred because your GP wants a specialist’s help in deciding how best to treat your condition or they do not have the equipment at the surgery for the required tests and investigations.

If you’re referred for a physical or mental health condition, you have the legal right to start non-urgent consultant-led treatment, or be seen by a specialist for suspected cancer, within maximum waiting times.

This right only applies to services commissioned by the NHS in England and does not include public health services commissioned by local authorities,

maternity services, or non-consultant-led mental health services.

Referral appointments online ( NHS e referral service and NHS app)

If you have been referred to a specialist through the NHS e-Referral Service, you can book, view, or cancel your first appointment by logging in to your NHS App or the NHS website. For more information about the NHS e-Referral Service, go to

Some NHS trusts require you to be aged 18 or over to view or manage appointments in the NHS App.

If you have access to your personal health record, you may be able to view your hospital and other healthcare appointments.

Find out more about

personal health records.

Booking your appointment

Cancelling your appointment

Managing further referral appointments

Missing or incorrect information

Cancelled referrals

Cancelled or changed appointments

Missing referrals and upcoming appointments

Missing waiting lists

Waiting Times

Your waiting time starts from when the hospital or service receives your referral letter, or when you book your first appointment through the

NHS e-Referral Service.

During this time period, you may:

  • have tests, scans or other procedures to help ensure that your treatment is appropriate for your condition
  • have medicine or therapy to manage your symptoms until you start treatment
  • be referred to another consultant or department

Your waiting time ends if a clinician decides no treatment is necessary, if you decide you do not want to be treated, or when your treatment begins.

This could include:

  • being admitted to hospital for an operation or treatment
  • starting treatment that does not require you to stay in hospital, such as taking medicine
  • beginning fitting for a medical device, such as leg braces
  • agreeing to have your condition monitored for a time to see whether you need further treatment
  • receiving advice from hospital staff about how to manage your condition

For more information, see our guidance on

NHS hospital servicesand

accessing mental health service.

Check waiting times

If you’re waiting for a hospital appointment or treatment, you can use the My Planned Care website to check the waiting times at your hospital.

Check hospital waiting times on the My Planned Care website

Please note your GP cannot chase referrals with the hospital and does not have access to the hospital wait lists. Once the referral has gone to the hospital you will need to liaise with the hospital directly. If your condition has worsened or changed you can complete an online Klinik form and have your case reviewed by one of our GPs. They can speak to your usual GP if needed.