Logo for Signhealth, the deaf charity

Search the site

Why does my GP want me to see a specialist?
Your GP will talk to you about why they want you to see a specialist.
A specialist is a senior doctor who is an expert in a certain type of medicine.
They are usually based in a hospital.
Usually your doctor wants the help of the specialist to decide the best way of treating you.
It might involve having a test or procedure that cannot be done in your local surgery.
A procedure is where the specialist doctor does something to you.
It might involve having a look inside your body.
They do this to find out more about your health problem.
Your GP will tell you if you can choose where to see the specialist.
An appointment is an arrangement to meet someone.
How do I make an
There are different ways to make an
• Online
You may be able to book the
appointment online.
Your GP will tell you how to do it. They
will give you a reference number and
• Letter
You may get a letter from the hospital
telling you when and where the
appointment is.
You should reply as soon as possible
and tell the hospital if you can go on
that date.
• Telephone
You may get a letter asking you to
telephone and make an appointment. Having a test or procedure
If you need a test or procedure, the
specialist will:
• Arrange the test or procedure.
They will tell you how you will find
out when it is and where to go.
• Give you the results of the test or
procedure. They may do this in a
separate appointment or by letter.
What happens if I need new
The specialist might suggest you:
• Take a new medicine
• Change how much of the medicine
you are already taking
The specialist is responsible for:
• Giving you the first prescription
for any new medicine
• Giving you enough medicine to
last for at least 7 days
A Prescription is a note written by a
doctor which says what medicine
you need.
You will take the prescription to the
The pharmacist will give you the
After this your GP will give you
prescriptions for any more
medicines you need.
It is important that you understand:
• What medicine you should be
• How much you should take
• When you should be taking it
If you are not sure, please ask.
What if I need a fit note?
If you are not fit to go to work the
specialist should give you a fit note.
A fit note is a note written by a
doctor that says you should not go
to work.
It used to be called a sick note.
The fit note should cover the time
they think that you will be unfit for
work, or up to the next time you see
the specialist.
You should not need to see your GP to
get a fit note after an appointment at
the hospital.
What if I need a follow up
A follow up appointment is when you
have to go back and see the specialist
The specialist will tell you if you need
a follow up appointment.
If you do need a follow up
appointment the hospital will
contact you. This video has been produced by NHS England and you can find more information at https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/what-happens-when-your-doctor-asks-you-to-see-a-specialist-accessible/