Why waste time on referrals?

“We need a referral from your GP”.

32,270 Confused Cartoon Face Images, Stock Photos & Vectors ...That phrase is guaranteed to send me up the wall.  Why. Oh why are patients in Britain treated like children?  In Europe, I can usually phone the consultant’s Secretary directly to arrange an appointment.  Here, I have to go through a laborious process of asking my GP to make an appointment.  With the current difficulties of getting to speak to her, it can take ages. And it also wastes her valuable time. Each time I am told I need to see someone, it’s back to square one again – and more delays.

Even more stupod is the system that says if I have a chronic condition, and am under a consultant for this, if I have waited too long in between appointments (perhaps my condition lies dormant before flaring up again) it’s back to wasting my G’P’s time for another referral.

I cope with 14 different medical conditions and have lived with polio for over 60 years, so I know a bit about my conditions.

Recent time wasting

I needed to see someone in Orthotics to get ‘build-up’ work done onFull contact orthosis my shoes.  My Consultant recommended this, but instead of picking up the phone and referring me directly,  he has to say the dreaded words “ask your GP for a referral”.

Rerurning home, I immediately send an email asking for an urgent referral, and wait for my GP to phone me.  Five days later she does – and she flounders around trying to understand what it is I need.  I give her the technical gulf – hoping she can get enough for the all-important referral.

Obviously not, because it’s a month later and not a sign of a referral.

So I phone the Orthotics Dept. directly and get talking to J.  She and I click, and she tells me her sorry story of constantly trying to get GPs to release the all-important referral for other patients.  She sounds at the end of her tether,.  We get on so well she offers to phone my GP herself and get the referral directly.

But what a waste of her time.  Surely someone in the NHS should be doing some old-fashioned ‘time and motion studies;  look at what happens in Europe.  Why can’t the NHS get up-to-date, save time and allow patients, where and when appropriate, to self-refer?

I don’t want to end up again in a clinic where I had had to go back to re-refer. The Junior Doctor looked at me and asked “what does your consultant usually recommend?”

Letting us self-refer might save the NHS a lot of time – and time costs money.