Private Referrals & Shared Care

Shared care arrangements

Shared care arrangements are where the prescribing of specialist medication is taken on by GPs for the convenience of patients. The NHS states in its guidelines on shared care between hospitals and GPs that the legal responsibility for prescribing lies with the doctor who signs the prescription. Therefore, a shared arrangement is not just a letter from a hospital issuing guidance or advice on prescribing but one that has been previously agreed in full by both parties.

What do I need to do?

For patients making use of health insurance e.g. Bupa / AVIVA

Your GP will write a referral letter if they feel this is appropriate and it will be available to collect from reception (a charge will be applicable in most cases) this will include any relevant medical details about you.

Please note that if an insurance company wishes for a specific form to be completed you may be charged for this additional work.

For patients who do not have a health insurance policy

If you do not have health insurance and wish to book directly with a private clinic, you do not require a letter and can arrange the appointment as you wish. You should contact the Consultant’s team or your Private Health Care Provider or Insurer to organise an appointment. Should you have any questions regarding your appointment you should contact them directly.

Seeing the Consultant

What happens if I need a test or procedure?

If the Consultant thinks that you need any tests – including blood tests – or a surgical procedure, then the Consultant is responsible for:

  • Arranging tests and any medications that might be needed prior to the test, as well as explaining how and when you will receive a date for the test, and what to do if the date is not suitable for you. Please note: the cost of these are your responsibility to fund yourself.
  • Giving you your results and explaining what they mean. This may be via letter or a further face to face appointment. Please do not contact the practice to discuss the results of tests organised by other doctors. It is the Consultant’s responsibility to discuss this with you, and the practice may not have access to the results, or be in a position to interpret them.

What happens if I need new medicines?

The Consultant might suggest prescribing new medicines for you or might want to make changes to the medicines that you are already taking. They will be responsible for giving you the first prescription of any new medicine that you need to start taking straight away, also they may need to continue prescribing until the condition is stabilised. Please note if you take a private prescription to any NHS Pharmacy you will have to pay the actual cost of the medication rather than the current NHS standard prescription charge, which may be more or less dependent on the medication prescribed.

In some cases depending if there is an NHS shared care agreement in place, your GP may be able to continue to prescribe these medications on an NHS prescription.

This will need to be considered by the practice and is at the discretion of the GPs. DO NOT assume we will prescribe this for you.

Private consultants may suggest medications to patients which wouldn’t normally be prescribed by NHS GPs. If this is the case, you will need to continue to receive them from the Consultant. Please contact them directly to organise this.

What happens if I need to transfer my care back to the NHS?

If after seeing the Consultant privately you want to be back under NHS care, and national regulations allow for you to transfer back. This transfer ideally needs to be done by the private Consultant who is overseeing your care but if this is not possible please request that your consultant writes directly to the practice to request this.

Due to NHS waiting times, you may have to continue paying under the private care whiles waiting for you to be accepted under NHS care.