When you have been referred to a specialist

Once you and your GP have agreed to a specialist referral, a letter is written and posted or electronically transferred via the NHS choose and book system to initiate the referral. 

It is usual to hear within 2-3 weeks that your referral is in progress.  It you have not heard within this time, please contact the practice to check the progress of your referral.  This helps ensure that all referrals are processed in a timely manner.

You should let us know if there is any medical information that you would not like us to share with the hospital at the time of referral.   

Fast-track referrals

If you have been referred on a "Fast Track" (to exclude a possible cancer as the cause of your symptoms) then we would usually expect for you to hear from the hospital within a week.

If you haven't heard by this point, please contact the University Hospitals Dorset Fast Track office on 0300 0194 741.

The fast-track letter with further information regarding this process can be found here.

NHS e-Referral Tracking

If your doctor has referred you to a specialist for further care you will be asked to book your appointment using the ‘NHS e-Referral’ system.

You will receive a letter from us within 2 weeks giving details of how to book your appointment and any passwords you may need.

To track your e-Referral you will need the following details to log into the e-Referral website:

  • Your date of birth
  • Reference number – this will be on the first page of your letter
  • Password – this will be on the second page of your letter

To track an e-Referral, click here.

When there is a wait for your specialist appointment

If you have been referred to the hospital, we send all of the relevant information to the specialist to ensure that they are able to prioritise your care. Sometimes, especially at the moment, there will be a waiting list.

It is often tempting to call up your GP to see if we can speed the process up - we wish we could! Unless something has changed, like you think the problem has got worse, then there is little we can do to help. You can try calling the hospital directly to see if they can put you on a list of patients who are happy to be called at short notice if there is a cancellation (this does not happen very often, though).

After you come home from hospital

If you have had an operation and will need to take time off work to recover, you should be offered a medical certificate (MED3) by the hospital team to make sure your recovery is as speedy as possible. The specialists will know how long it usually takes to get better after the operations they do, so they should give you a medical certificate that covers you for the entire time you are expected to be off work (or until they see you in clinic). Please make sure you get a certificate for as long as you are going to need, before you leave hospital, as it can be hard to get hold of the hospital team once you are discharged.