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.
However, the British Medical Association (BMA) believes it's best practice
for patients to be referred for specialist treatment by their GP
because they know your medical history.
A referral may also be required for 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
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. You won't be charged for this.
Your GP will only refer you to a specialist if they believe that
specialist assessment or treatment is necessary. If they don't think it
is, they don't 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).